A prominent critic of Rwanda’s president appeared in court alongside her mother and sister on Friday, all charged with forgery and inciting insurrection.

Diane Rwigara

Diane Rwigara is accused of faking the registration papers she filed to stand against President Paul Kagame in an August election.

She was eventually barred from running and Kagame went on to win with 98.8 per cent of the vote.

Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, has repeatedly accused Kagame of stifling dissent and criticised his Rwandan Patriotic Front’s tight grip on the country since it fought its way to power to end Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

On Friday, she told the packed courtroom she had been forced to appear without her lawyer because authorities had not told him about the hearing in time.

Rwigara, her mother Adeline and sister Anne, have said charges against them are politically motivated.

Kagame has been widely praised for restoring stability but rights groups say he has muzzled independent media and suppressed opponents – accusations he dismisses.

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