Dieudonne Ishimwe has been sentenced to five years in prison for rape and soliciting sexual favors. The first case against him was dropped, but he is not innocent afterall.
The organizer of the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant was sentenced on Friday, October 13, 2023, to five years in prison for rape and soliciting sexual favors. The verdict came 10 months after he was cleared of the charges.
Dieudonne Ishimwe, a former musician popularly known as Prince Kid, was arrested in April last year for sexually assaulting former contestants.
In December, a judge found the 36-year-old not guilty, citing insufficient evidence, and ordered his release, but the prosecution appealed.
A Kigali court has once more found him guilty of rape and soliciting sexual favors, but not guilty of sexual harassment.
Prosecutors wanted to sentence him to 16 years in prison – but the three-judge panel said it decided on a five-year term “based on the fact that it is the first time that Mr Ishimwe has been charged with a crime.”
Ishimwe, who earlier this year married a former Miss Rwanda, was also fined two million Rwandan francs ($1,640).
Neither Ishimwe nor his legal representatives were in court for the ruling.
Ishimwe’s attorney Emeline Nyembo told AFP that they had not yet decided whether to appeal.
“I have not had the opportunity to meet with my client. Once I have consulted with Mr. Ishimwe and discussed the matter with him, we will determine our course of action.”
Ishimwe’s arrest led to the suspension of the annual Miss Rwanda contest, which billed itself as the country’s leading beauty pageant.
Miss Rwanda debuted in the global Miss World competition in 2016, according to its website.