On Monday, Musician Kizito Mihigo and co-accused Jean Paul Dukuzumuremyi withdrew their bid to challenge the decision of the High Court that had in 2015 sentenced him to 10-years.
In the hearing, the jury announced the appeal case was withdrawn pursuant to the defendants’ request dated August 26, without clarifying on the content in letter.
Appearing before the Court, the embattled singer was asked if he still wished to withdraw his appeal as he requested in his letter.
He confirmed his willingness to withdraw his appeal and the court granted him his request.
Kizito Mihigo’s lawyer, Antoinette Mukamusoni was quoted saying she was surprised of Kizito’s letter. His letter made no explications.
“After seeing his letter, I wondered why he had let us request for an appeal in the first place, only to withdraw it in the end. Later, I asked him what pushed him to make the request,” Mukamusoni said
According to Mukamusoni, Kizito was polite, while answering her questions. He said “I pleaded guilty and the court sentenced me according to law. Clearly, I would not be bringing anything new in the court. Why would I be pleading? What would I be challenging against the high court?”
Kizito added that he withdrew his appeal since he was not having any new facts to challenge the verdict.
Parole behind the appeal’s withdrawal
Jean Felix Rudakemwa- a lawyer, who represented popular convict Dr. Leon Mugesera, believes there was a motive behind Kizito Mihigo’s decision to withdraw his appeal.
Parole, commonly known as conditional release, might be the motive.
Conditional release is possible if one served at least one quarter of the sentence before it is considered. Parole will be considered once two thirds of the sentence has been served.
Up to now, Kizito has served 4 years and five months. This means that in the coming two years, he will have served the required two thirds, and be eligible for a conditional release.
Asked on this, Kizito Mihigo’s lawyer said that she did not know whether it was part of his plans.
“I have no idea whatsoever of his plans, unless he decides to let me know. I only know that his reasons to withdraw the appeal were that he had no tangible facts to defend himself against the verdict.” Mukamusoni said.
Mihigo’s sentence resulted from serious crimes including; being involved in activities aimed at destabilising state security and that he was working with the Rwanda National
Congress (RNC), an exiled opposition group, as well as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan rebel outfit in DR Congo.