Rwandan court refuses to free rebel leader Nkunda

A Rwandan high court has rejected a bid by the wife of Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda to release him, a rights group said on Friday.

The High Court of Rwanda said on Thursday that Elisee Nkunda’s appeal “did not respect the law” and ordered her to pay legal costs, the League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region (LDGL) reported on its website.

Elisee Nkunda’s lawyer said earlier this month she had filed legal papers demanding for her husband’s release, after he was arrested by Rwandan forces on January 22 and held in a secret location.

The former general’s wife had launched an appeal to the High Court after a Rwandan tribunal had earlier dismissed her case.

One of the lawyers for Nkunda, who had led the Tutsi rebel group the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), Richard Rwihandagaza vowed on Thursday to track down the person responsible for his client’s arrest.

Nkunda’s arrest was a dramatic turnaround, with Rwanda accused only weeks earlier by Democratic Republic of Congo of backing the cashiered Congolese general.

Nkunda had claimed to be protecting local Tutsis from Rwandan rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), some of whom participated in the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.

He accused Kinshasa and pro-government Mai Mai militia of backing the Rwandan rebels, while the Congolese authorities in turn accused Kigali of backing Nkunda.—Sapa-AFP

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