(Bloomberg) -- A Rwandan court acquitted an aspiring presidential contender and fierce critic of President Paul Kagame of charges of inciting a public insurrection and forging electoral documents.

Diane Rwigara, a women’s rights activist, was arrested in September 2017 and detained for more than a year before receiving bail in October. Her mother, Adeline, was also acquitted of charges of inciting violence and conspiring to incite an insurrection.

“We were innocent,” the 37-year-old said in an interview in the capital, Kigali, shortly after the ruling by Judge John Byakatonda. "I plan to continue my political career because what I was advocating for hasn’t changed, especially poverty in the country."

Rwigara says her incarceration was politically motivated because of her decision to vie against Kagame at elections held in August 2017, an allegation that’s been denied by the ruling party. Rwanda changed its constitution in 2015 to enable Kagame, who became president in 2000, to seek a third term.

In March, the Rwanda Revenue Authority sold Premier Tobacco Co., a firm owned by the Rwigara family, after it failed to pay $6 million in taxes and debt to banks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saul Butera in Kigali at sbutera2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Helen Nyambura, Michael Gunn

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