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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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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African Summit Gives Sudan Military Three Months To Implement Reforms

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African Summit Gives Sudan Military Three Months To Implement Reforms

African leaders have agreed, at a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday, to give Sudan’s ruling military council three months to implement democratic reforms, and a quick restoration of the constitutional system through a political process, amid pressure for a handover of power to civilians.

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The decision extends a 15-day deadline set by the African Union last week for Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) to hand over power or be suspended from the A.U. TMC took over after president Omar Al-Bashir was ousted earlier this month.

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The TMC has been under pressure from demonstrators to hand power to civilians immediately.

Egypt`s Abdul Fatah Al Sisi, who holds the rotating African Union presidency, said at the end of the summit in Cairo, they have agreed on the need to give more time to Sudanese authorities and Sudanese parties to implement required measures.

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Mozambican Authorities Warn Of A Possible Tropical Storm Hit

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Mozambican Authorities Warn Of A Possible Tropical Storm Hit

Mozambican authorities have warned of a tropical storm that could hit the country this week, just one month after cyclone Idai ravaged the nation. The next organized tropical cyclone, to be named Kenneth could also affect Tanzania.

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The National Institute for Disaster Management’s spokesman, Paulo Tomás says, they will keep abreast of the evolution of the weather system.

Last month, cyclone Idai killed at least 960 people in parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving some 3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

READ:  Ethiopia PM Says Soldiers' Protest Attempt To Derail Reforms

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Egypt Voters Approve Referendum Extending President’s Rule

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Egypt Voters Approve Referendum Extending President's Rule

Egypt’s election commission has announced, 88% of voters had approved changes to the constitution that could allow president Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi stay in power until 2030. The amendments would also give the president new powers over the judiciary.

The commission says, voter turnout during the three-day referendum was nearly 44 and a half percent and almost 90 percent approved the amendments while 11.17 percent voted no.

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The amendments will extend Sisi’s current term to six years from four and allow him to run again for a third six-year term in 2024 and to appoint one or more vice presidents.

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His critics questioned the credibility of the turnout figure announced and are asking how can a constitution be changed to fit one person.

Sisi’s supporters say he has stabilized Egypt and needs more time to reform and develop the economy.

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After the announcement was made, Al-Sisi sent the message quote “I am your god.”

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