Fashion designer and founder of Moshions, Moses Turahirwa, on Tuesday appeared before Nyarugenge Primary Court for his bail hearing and pleaded guilty to drug abuse, one of the charges he is facing.
Turahirwa was detained by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), on April 27, on allegations of forgery and drug abuse after he posted a photo of his passport claiming that it was issued with his preferred gender of ‘female’. RIB later said that he would also be charged with drug abuse after he tested positive of Cannabis, which remains illegal in Rwanda.
Turahirwa pleaded guilty to the drug use charge, telling court that he smoked marijuana during his two-year stay in Italy. The controversial fashion designer admitted that he was found in possession of the drug but said that it was found in a shirt he hadn’t worn for a long time.
He said that in Italy consumption of marijuana is not illegal, though records show that the drug is illegal and highly regulated in the European country.
The 32-year old fashion designer is facing a charge of forgery after he posted a photo of his national passport claiming that it was issued with his preferred gender of ‘female’.
The “Kwanda season” designer posted a photo of the bio page of his passport inscribed with “F” on the gender, to indicate that his gender was changed from ‘male to ‘female’, thanking the Head of State for the change. Later the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration denied ever issuing the said travel document.
Turahirwa said that the copy he shared was an altered one done for ‘artistic’ purposes when he was shooting his movie dubbed “Kwanda Season I”. He said the said copy doesn’t have a passport number and that he never purported to use it anywhere, as though it was his official passport.
The Judge asked Turahirwa if he thinks altering an official document is a crime and he that he regrets and apologizes if it misled people, adding that in doing so he didn’t think he was committing a crime and he deleted upon noticing that it could be misinterpreted and misleading.
His lawyers, Irene Bayisabe and Frank Mugisha, told court that Turahirwa deserves to be given bail because the alleged crimes are not of a serious nature and like any Rwandan, he has a right to bail.
They told judges that some of the accusation don’t hold water because he altered his own document and removed key details, for artistic purposes. On the accusation of drug abuse, the lawyers argued that he explained the circumstances it happen, outside the Rwandan borders.
Prosecution however maintained that he was tested after a search in his house found the illegal substance and that on different ocassions he admitted usage.
Turahirwa staked his fashion house, Moshions and sureties to be released on bond. His lawyers argued that he is not a flight risk and should be granted the right to bail.
Prior to his arrest, the fashion designer had been in the news in recent months for the wrong reasons. At the beginning of this month he claimed that he is allowed to smoke Cannabis publicly, including on the streets, for medical reasons, despite the consumption of the psychoactive drug remaining illegal, whether for medical or recreational purposes.
Earlier this year in January, the fashion designer was in the news again after a video of him, seemingly in an intimate act with other men, made rounds on social media platforms. Before his arrest, Turahirwa had been moving around promoting his new clothing line dubbed ‘Kwanda’.
Turahirwa begged court to grant him bail and promised to continue cooperating in the judicial process. Bail ruling was set for May 15.