Ingabire's husband reacts
Lin Muyizere had to learn through the internet that his wife Victoire Ingabire has been charged with lifelong imprisonment. Muyizere is taken aback, but not surprised: "From the beginning of this trial I have had no faith in a positive outcome. As long as Kagame [Rwanda’s president, ed.] is in power, no judge will come up with a different verdict".
Muyizere and Ingabire have three children. He has asked them to stay calm, and think carefully about how they will react to these new developments in the trial against their mother. Tomorrow, as usual, he’ll go to the Dutch Houses of Parliament in The Hague, where he’s been protesting every week for the release of his wife.
A life sentence for Victoire Ingabire, urged Rwandan prosecutors on Wednesday. Charges against the opposition leader include complicity in a terrorist group and denying the 1994 genocide.
"We request a life sentence for Victoire Ingabire," Deputy Prosecutor General Alphonse Hitiyaremye said at the conclusion of her more than seven-month long trial in the capital Kigali.
Judges are due to give their verdict on June 29.
Ingabire, who was not in court, is charged with "giving financial support to a terrorist group, planning to cause state insecurity and divisionism." She denies the charges.
Last week she said she would boycott her trial after the court cut short a defence witness who accused Rwandan authorities of rigging evidence against her.
Her British lawyer Iain Edwards said he and his Rwandan colleague "are still very much in contact with her."
"We await with interest the verdict in this case and look forward to starting the inevitable appeal process," Edwards said Wednesday.
"That process will not end within the borders of the Republic of Rwanda. Victoire is ready for that process and looks to the future with courage, patience and a strong conviction that the truth will eventually be known."
Rwandan prosecutors claim to have evidence of Ingabire's alleged "terrorist" activities, including proof of financial transfers to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu rebel movement based in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
"We have evidence proving her crimes," said Alain Mukurarinda, a member of the prosecution team.
"We found documents in her house in Netherlands clearly stating she was attempting to form an armed group aimed at committing terror attacks in Rwanda."
The politician, an outspoken critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, has been in custody since her arrest in October 2010.
Ingabire's Unified Democratic Forces, refused accreditation as a political party in Rwanda, accuses Rwandan authorities of fabricating evidence against its leader with the sole aim of preventing her from participating in the political life of the small central African country.