Rwanda: Man Arrested for Wearing Old Flag
The New Times (Kigali)
21 August 2008
Posted to the web 21 August 2008
A South African national living in Musanze has been arrested for wearing a T-shirt bearing the old Rwandan flag.
Marcel Clasen, the Director of Elegant Africa Ltd, a tour company, was charged with disrespecting the national emblem by replacing the new Rwandan national flag with the old one, a crime he allegedly committed in July this year.
While appearing in the Muhoza Lower Court, Clasen pleaded not guilty to all the charges. According to Dan Kabeja, the Prosecutor, Marcel Clasen was first summoned to court on August 13 but was later arrested on August 15 as he attempted to flee the country without appearing in court.
The case involving Clasen had been raised by a journalist of a local newspaper during last month's Presidential press conference.
It was reported that when he asked why he was wearing the old national flag, Clasen had arrogantly replied that he knew what he was doing and left shortly with his wife.
Pinning him with the evidence, the prosecutor said that Clasen knew the current Rwandan Flag since he reportedly has two T-shirts; one with the new flag and the other with old one and that by this, he violated article 241 of the penal code which prohibits abusing the national flag.
Clasen's defence lawyer, Toyi Nzamwita, dismissed the accusations saying that his client was innocent. He said that Clasen could not have intentionally committed such a crime in a country he lives in, has investments and bought land.
Clasen was constructing a Camping site in Cyuve Sector along Musanze Cyanika road. The presiding Judge, Felix Uwayezu adjourned the case to August 21.
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