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LGBTQ Rwandan designer held on forged passport claims



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A transgender Rwandan fashion designer, who counted President Paul Kagame among their customers, has been detained on forgery accusations after claiming their passport has been changed to reflect their gender, police said Friday.

Moses Turahirwa, 35, was taken into custody on Thursday after sharing a photograph on Instagram of their passport, indicating their gender as female.

"Finally officially female on my ID. How fun. Thank you Kagame," posted Turahirwa, who identifies as they/she on social media.

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

"Drug abuse has been added to the crimes Turahirwa is being accused of after Rwanda Forensic Laboratory tests confirmed that he illegally used cannabis," Murangira added.

"Investigations will continue while provisionally detained."

Although Rwanda is among a handful of African countries that are signatories to a 2011 United Nations joint statement condemning violence against LGBTQ people, the community continues to battle abuse and stigma.

A former model and founder of the bespoke Kigali fashion house Moshions, Turahirwa resigned as CEO of their company in November following an outcry over the release of nude photographs on their social media accounts.

In January, the designer -- who has designed clothes for Kagame and his family -- faced heavy criticism in Rwanda after the leak of a video allegedly showing them having sex with two men.

Homosexuality is not banned in Rwanda, unlike neighbouring Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.(AFP)

Moses Turahirwa