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Former Rwanda national team goalkeeper facing jail over drug abuse

A Rwandan prosecutor on Monday demanded 2 years imprisonment for aggravated drug offenses for the former goalkeeper of Rwanda National…

A Rwandan prosecutor on Monday demanded 2 years imprisonment for aggravated drug offenses for the former goalkeeper of Rwanda National football team, Olivier Kwizera who has been arrested earlier this month for marijuana-related offenses.Kwizera and his five co-accused including some former players from different clubs of Rwanda first league are now facing jail for their drug dealing crimes.

According to the prosecutor, Kwizera and several accomplices brought marijuana into their homes, but the defense team argued that his main client was suffering from mental illness and should have the option of treatment instead of jail.

“I don’t believe that we should be sending mentally ill people like my clients to jail,” one member of the defense team told Kagarama primary court located at Kicukiro, a suburb of Kigali city Monday.

In September 2017, Kwizera became the first Rwandan goalkeeper to play in the South Africa Premier League after signing a two-year contract with Free State Stars FC.

The then 22-year-old Rwanda international completed his move to the club which is based in Bethlehem, Free State after acquiring the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) players intermediaries license (ITC).

Kwizera, whose career started with military side APR FC youth team before joining Bugesera FC’s two years ago, becomes the first Rwandan to sign a permanent contract with a South African first division club.

In a related development, a cabinet meeting on October 12, 2020, approved guidelines that allow the growing of cannabis in Rwanda. However, the guidelines centre on cultivating, processing and export of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Medical cannabis produced in Rwanda is solely for export markets, according to the guidelines.

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