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Rwanda: LGBTQ fashion designer charged with passport forgery

Rwanda: LGBTQ fashion designer charged with passport forgery
FILE - Activists from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) ....   -  
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Hassan Ammar/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.


A transgender Rwandan fashion designer who counted President Paul Kagame among her clients has been arrested on charges of forgery after claiming her passport had been altered to reflect her new gender, police said Friday.

Moses Turahirwa, 35, was taken into custody on Thursday after sharing a photo of her passport on Instagram, claiming that the gender section had been changed from male to female.

"Finally officially a woman on my ID. This is fun. Thanks Kagame," posted Moses Turahirwa, who identifies herself as "she/they" on social media.

"Turahirwa Moses was summoned by RIB (Rwanda Bureau of Investigation) to explain the source of the fake passport after the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration confirmed that it did not issue the said passport," RIB spokesman Thierry Murangira told the press.

"The use of narcotics has been added to the crimes Turahirwa is accused of after tests by Rwanda's forensic laboratory confirmed that he had illegally consumed cannabis," he added.

"The investigation will continue during his pre-trial detention," he continued.

Former model and founder of the Kigali Moshions fashion house, Moses Turahirwa had resigned as CEO of the company in November after an outcry over the publication of nude photographs on its social networks.

In January, the designer - who has designed clothes for Paul Kagame and his family - came under heavy criticism in Rwanda after a video was revealed showing her having sex with two men.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Rwanda, unlike several of its neighbors (Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi).

While Rwanda is one of a handful of African countries that signed a 2011 joint UN declaration condemning violence against LGBTQ people, abuse and stigma are recurrent.

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