The acquittal of Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline could be seen as a significant step in Rwanda's democracy.
But it is also hard to ignore the fact that there was international pressure, including from the US Congress, to drop charges against her - not that Rwandan authorities are in the habit of listening to external voices.
Critics still see Ms Rwigara's arrest and detention, and the auctioning of her assets, as a continuation of a trend of intimidation against anyone who opposes the government. And there's a long list of dissidents who have been punished severely.
Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was released from prison this year having served time for "conspiracy against the country through terrorism and war" and "genocide denial". She - just like Ms Rwigara - had intended to run for president against Paul Kagame, back in 2010.
Another opposition leader, Boniface Twagirimana, went missing from prison in October. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Ms Ingabire was released in September under the president's prerogative of mercy, a move that could be interpreted as painting Mr Kagame as the benevolent leader.
But the underlying message remains that dissent will not be tolerated.