Miss Rwanda sex abuse trial held in secret

A court in Kigali is hearing the case against the Miss Rwanda pageant organiser accused of sex crimes behind closed doors to protect witnesses, a judge has said.

Dieudonné Ishimwe, widely known in Rwanda as Prince Kid, is accused of rape, soliciting or offering sexual favours and harassment against the pageant contesters.

He has not responded to the allegations.

He was set to plead to the charges during a bail hearing today, but as soon as the proceedings began, the prosecutor requested that the trial be held in secret.

The prosecutor cited moral reasons because of the sexual nature of the case and protection of witnesses.

Mr Ishimwe objected, requesting that the hearing should be open “for the public to follow and know the outcome”.

A judge ruled that the hearing should go on behind closed doors, and the public and journalists were immediately ordered out of the courtroom.

This case is currently one of the most discussed issues by Rwandans on social platforms.

Last week, the culture ministry suspended the Miss Rwanda contest, while its 2017 winner Elsa Iradukunda was arrested in connection to Mr Ishimwe’s case.