They were found wanting in fulfilling requirements for the elections such as collecting enough supporting signatures.

So, they were sidelined by Rwanda's electoral body.

Those disqualified on are Diane Shima Rwigara, Gilbert Mwenedata and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda. Rwigara, who was running as an independent, said local leaders threatened her supporters while they collected signatures.

The electoral commission's announcement comes as Amnesty International charges that the election will be held under a "climate of fear" and repression.

Rwandans go to the polls August 4. They will choose among longtime President Paul Kagame, Frank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party and independent candidate, Philippe Mpayimana.

According to electoral laws, independent presidential candidates are required to present 600 signatures, with at least 12 from each of Rwanda's 30 districts.