April 9, 2020

Jailed ex-Presidential Guard chief Byabagamba ‘Attempted to Escape’ from Prison

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Col Tom Byabagamba after a court appearance in one of the many in the last few years

The Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) announced Thursday late evening that it will introduce new charges against jailed former head of the Presidential Guard Col Tom Byabagamba.

In a statement, RDF said: “The Rwanda Defence Force will arraign Colonel Tom BYABAGAMBA before military courts for additional charges committed while in detention. Col Byabagamba is suspected of criminal activities related to attempt to commit corruption and attempt to escape from a prison.”

It added: “Suspected criminal activities committed by Colonel Tom BYABAGAMBA and his inside and outside accomplices are being thoroughly investigated.”

Late last year, Col Byabagamba and his co-accused Brig Gen (Rtd) Frank Rusagara lost their appeal against 20 year jail terms. The two were convicted of various charges including undermining state authority.

Last month, they filed a case with East African Court of Justice, which is supposed to be the highest legal platform. They want an opinion on their case, which will unlikely ever be implemented in Rwanda. Col Byabagamba also wants his ranks restored. The case is yet to come to court for actual hearing.

The new charges against Col Byabagamba, who was in President Paul Kagame’s protection detail throughout his military career, mean the drama which marked his previous court appearances will be out there for the media to report.

Col Byabagamba should be kept at the military’s most secure prison, and it will be interesting hear details during court proceeding on the new charges.

In the RDF statement announcing the new charges, it read: “Col Tom BYABAGAMBA was arrested on August 24, 2014. On 27 December 2019, the Court of Appeal sentenced him to an imprisonment of 15 years and stripping off his military ranks. He was found guilty of inciting insurrection or trouble amongst the population; tarnishing, as a leader, the image of the country or Government; wilfully concealing objects that would facilitate the execution of a crime; and contempt of the national flag.”

“The RDF reassures the public that justice will take its course and will not tolerate any person who violates the law and RDF ethics and values.”

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