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Rwandan snatched from Uganda rejects terror chargesPublish Date: Dec 02, 2013
Rwandan snatched from Uganda rejects terror charges
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The man in question, Joel Mutabazi (not pictured) is a former guard of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. PHOTO/AFP

KIGALI - A former guard of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, seized in Uganda where he was a refugee and sent back to Kigali, pleaded not guilty Monday to terrorism and murder.

Joel Mutabazi was forcibly returned to Rwanda by Ugandan police in October, a move condemned by the UN refugee agency and rights groups.

"I am not guilty of all the charges," the 37-year-old Israeli-trained commando told the military court in the Rwandan capital.

Mutabazi faces multiple charges including terrorism, formation of an armed group and murder.

Rwandan police accuse Mutabazi of grenade attacks in Rwanda "as part of a larger network led by the dissident Rwanda National Congress (RNC) in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda" (FDLR).

The RNC, based between South Africa and the United States, is headed by defectors from Kagame's ruling party.

The FDLR are the Democratic Republic of the Congo-based descendants of the ethnic Hutu militia who carried out Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has said it was "saddened" Mutabazi had been handed over to Rwanda against international refugee law.

Human Rights Watch has accused the Ugandan police of having "utterly failed to protect this refugee, who was clearly at serious risk".

Uganda has said it is investigating the incident and has suspended the police officer who arrested Mutabazi.


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