Despite spending a year in jail following conviction in relation to alleged incident at the airport in 2019, Dr Kayumba Christopher has refused to go quietly.
An appeal he filed while still in prison, has finally come. A court in Kigali has set June 10, Thursday next week, for the start of his appeal against the conviction.
Dr Kayumba was arrested on December 10, 2019 following what the Police said was an incident he caused at the Kigali International Airport.
He would eventually be charged with three cases including causing disturbances at an international airport, threatening to close down the airport and public drunkenness.
He was denied bail and spent months in the Mageragere prison as his case dragged on.
When the substantive hearing of the case began, Dr Kayumba denied all the charges. No witnesses were brought or any material evidence. Despite the airport having security cameras, no footage was presented to show what the Police said was his threat to “shut down” the airport.
On July 30 last year, a judge at the Kicukiro Intermediate Court ruled that Kayumba was guilty on one of the three charges. He was cleared on the charge of public drunkenness and threatening to close down the airport but convicted of causes disturbances.
The judge, reading the verdict virtually, sentenced Kayumba to a year in jail.
Not satisfied, Kayumba vowed to appeal even as he served jail time.
On December 6 last year, Kayumba was released after completing his sentence. He said in media interviews that he had filed appeal within the 30 days following the lower court’s verdict, and was waiting to “clear my name”.
He told The Chronicles this Tuesday after getting notification of date that the appeal is meant to “clear my record”.
He added: “There was no evidence at all for the three charges and there is no reason the judge gave for clearing me on two charges and convicting me on one! Since only me appealed and prosecution didn’t, the outcome can only be clearing my name and the judge finding me innocent or at worst, staying the one year sentence…”
Dr Kayumba is founding partner of The Chronicles and was its Managing Editor until March this year when he went into politics, emerging with a political formation, the Rwandese Platform for Democracy (RPD).
During the court hearings for his case, Kayumba said a very senior government official had warned him that if he didn’t close The Chronicles, he would never have peace.
He also accused the Police of deliberately frustrating his livelihood by blocking him several times as he was heading to the airport to travel out of Rwanda for personal and professional engagements. He said they always found a way to arrest him and later release him without charges.
The appeals hearing will open at the Nyarugenge appeals court at 8am.