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Rwanda Prosecutors Seek 22-year Sentence For Dissident

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Leading Rwanda Dissident Defiant As Treason Trial Looms

Prosecutors on Wednesday requested that Rwanda’s leading dissident politician be handed 22 years in prison for inciting insurrection and forgery as her trial opened in the capital Kigali.

“We request that Diane Rwigara be imprisoned for 15 years for inciting insurrection and seven years for forging documents,” prosecutors told the single-day hearing at Kigali’s High Court.

But a treason charge, which had previously been laid against Rwigara, was not mentioned in court.

Rwigara, 37, denies the charges, dismissing them as “politically motivated” after her blocked attempt to challenge President Paul Kagame in last year’s elections.

She appeared in court on Wednesday alongside her mother who prosecutors also want sentenced for 22 years for inciting insurrection and promoting sectarianism in a country still overshadowed by the 1994 genocide.

The two women had spent more than a year behind bars before being released on bail last month ahead of their trial.

In court, Rwigara came out fighting, insisting she had only spoken the truth about Rwanda and so could not be guilty of inciting the masses through falsehoods as the prosecution alleged.

“I stand by my remarks,” she told the court’s three judges. “They reflect my political journey, coupled with calling on Rwandans to resist fear and speak for our country.”

Rwigara also robustly denied forging signatures on electoral documents in a bid to win a place on last year’s presidential ballot, an accusation she says was designed to derail her challenge to Kagame.

Taking the stand, her mother Adeline Rwigara, publicly aired long-standing accusations that her husband Assinapol – Diane’s father – did not die in a car accident in 2015 but was killed by state agents.

“I stand by my words and will continue to denounce the injustices my family faces,” she said.

Since Diane Rwigara’s arrest last year, her brothers and sister have been interrogated, family assets have been forcibly auctioned to pay off a multi-million dollar tax claim, while a hotel the family owned was demolished for allegedly failing to abide by city guidelines.

Watching proceedings in court was Victoire Ingabire, another woman who sought to run for the presidency in 2010, but was blocked from competing, arrested, tried and spent six years in jail before her release in September.

The High Court is due to issue its verdict, and any sentence, on 6 December.

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Gabon Amends Constitution To Fill Vacuum Left By Ailing President

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Gabon Amends Constitution To Fill Vacuum Left By Ailing President

Gabon has amended the constitution to allow the Vice-president or Prime Minister to run cabinet meetings if the President is temporarily unavailable. In a move to avert a political crisis brought about by the ill health of President Ali Bongo, who remains in hospital in Saudi Arabia, after suffering what is rumored to be a stroke last month.

Although his cabinet has earlier said he only suffered fatigue. His office finally admitted on Sunday he was recovering from surgery.

The fifty-nine year old president has not been seen in public since, and the state of his health is unknown.  Some are even now questioning whether he was still alive.

The decision by the constitutional court, which the opposition says is illegal, is the first move to fill the vacuum.

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Tens Of Thousands Of Africans Die Each Year Due To Fake Drugs – Report

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Tens Of Thousands Of Africans Die Each Year Due To Fake Drugs - Report

An E.U. funded report released this week says, tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication.

Manufacturers of the fake drugs are said to prey on poorer countries more than their richer counterparts, with up to 30 times greater penetration of fakes in the supply chain.

It added that the drugs are mainly made in China but also in India, Paraguay, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The report says almost half the fake and low-quality medicines reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 2013 and last year were found to be in sub-Saharan Africa. The report was also backed by Interpol and the institute for security studies.

Substandard or fake anti-malarials cause the deaths of between 64,000 and 158,000 persons per year in sub-Saharan Africa.

W.H.O. Says, the counterfeit drug market is worth around $200 billion worldwide annually, making it the most lucrative trade of illegally copied goods, and its impact has been devastating.

Nigeria said more than 80 children were killed in 2009 by a teething syrup tainted with a chemical normally used in engine coolant and blamed for causing kidney failure.

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Medical Team Of Chinese Peacekeeping Force Gives Emergency Treatment To UN Employees In Mali

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Medical Team Of Chinese Peacekeeping Force Gives Emergency Treatment To UN Employees In Mali

The medical team of the sixth batch of Chinese Peacekeeping force in Mali gave emergency treatment on Monday to nine United Nations employees who were injured in a suicidal car bomb attack in the Gao region.

Four UN employees were brought to the Chinese Medical Team by the United Nations multi-dimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

After a preliminary check, Chinese medical workers found one suffered from a rib fracture, and head injury. One with injuries at his right heel and rupture, and the other two with some health condition.

The Chinese medical workers helped the injured to stop bleeding, clean wounds and suture the wounds.

As they were treating the four, another five injured UN employees arrived 20 minutes later. Seven patients with slight injuries have been discharged.

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