Rwanda on Saturday freed Victoire Ingabire, an opposition leader, who had served six years of a 15-year jail term after President Paul Kagame exercised his power to grant a pardon.
Ingabire, who leads the unregistered FDU-Inkingi opposition party, was freed along with other prisoners, including singer Kizito Mihigo, jailed in 2015 for plotting to kill Kagame.
She emerged from prison in a red dress, green jacket and a broad smile.
Flanked by her lawyer Gatera Gashabana, she said that her release, together with the election of two opposition parliamentarians earlier this month, were positive signs.
“There is hope for the opening of the political space,” Ingabire said, thanking the president for granting her mercy.
“I would also ask him to release other political prisoners who remain here.”
Government officials downplayed the political significance of her release.
“There is nothing political about her release, there is nothing political about her imprisonment,” Justice Minister, Johnston Businge, said.