Rwandan singer Kizito Mihigo was arrested on Wednesday while trying to travel to Burundi. He is currently detained by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau and may return to prison for violating the conditions of his early release.
Kizito Mihigo, 38, could soon return to prison. According to our information, the 38-year-old singer was arrested on Thursday February 13 in the Nyaraguru district, in the south of Rwanda, when he was trying to go to Burundi. He was reportedly arrested with another individual after being spotted by two farmers.
He is currently detained by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, which accuses him of having illegally attempted to cross the border with the intention of joining armed rebellions. He is also suspected of having attempted to bribe the two farmers who recognized him.
Famous Rwandan musician - he contributed to the composition of the new national anthem in 2001 and had created a foundation to promote peace and reconciliation upon his return to Rwanda - Kizito Mihigo has long been considered close to the regime. But in 2014, a few months before the commemorations of the genocide committed against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the artist published a song - Igisobanuro cy'Urupfu (The Meaning of Death) - which started a strong controversy, the title being accused of putting on an equal footing the genocide and the acts of revenge committed against the Hutu.
Arrested in April 2014, he was then accused of "conspiracy to commit an assassination, complicity in a terrorist act and conspiracy against the government". Kizito Mihigo was tried alongside three co-accused: Cassien Ntamuhanga, Jean-Paul Dukuzumuremyi, and Agnes Niyibizi.
The singer had pleaded guilty and was sentenced on February 27, 2015 to ten years in prison for "conspiring against the Rwandan government".
He was accused of having links with the FDLR and the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) of Kayumba Nyamwasa, a former Rwandan general now in exile in South Africa, with the aim of preparing attacks to avenge the death of Patrick Karegeya, the other founder of the RNC, was found strangled dead in Johannesburg at the beginning of 2014. The trial was controversial and triggered many reactions from NGOs, including the FIDH.
On September 14, 2018, Kizito Mihigo had benefited, like the opponent Victoire Ingabire and several other prisoners, of an early release by decision of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame. He had since been subject to the same conditions as the latter, including the obligation to appear once a month at the prosecutor's office and to request authorization from the
Minister of Justice whenever he wishes to leave the country. Conditions that he would therefore not have respected.
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