- The publication of a reader’s letter critical to the government has resulted to a year’s jailing of a Rwandan media guru - Agnès Nkusi-Uwimana - the Director of the bi-monthly journal 'Umurabyo'.
Nkusi-Uwimana has been jailed on the charges since 12 January.
The Kigali court found her guilty of divisionism, sectarianism and libel. She was ordered to pay damages of US $760.
The State Prosecutor reportedly cajoled Nkusi-Uwimana to admit so that her jail term would be consequently reduced from five years to one year.
She has been planning to file an appeal against the ruling, although she is yet to have a lawyer.
“It is completely unacceptable that Agnès Nkusi-Uwimana should spend a year behind bars for publishing a reader’s letter,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, protested in a statement.
“Her conviction is another troubling example of the authorities’ use of charges of sectarianism and criminal libel to silence crucial journalism. This must stop.”
CPJ said its research has proved that the charges stemmed from an unsigned letter published on 1 January that compared ethnic killings during President Paul Kagame’s Tutsi-dominated administration to those of the previous Hutu regime.
Rights defenders accused the Rwandan regime of continually hiding behind “divisionism and sectarianism” to silence its critics, including journalists.
Rwandan officials have always defended that their actions were meant to avoid a recurrence of genocide in the country. Some radio stations [hate media] were accused of fuelling the flames of the 100-day Rwandan genocide in which over 800 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.
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