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Journalist Gasasira of Rwandan Newspaper Umuvugizi Sentenced to 2.5 Years of Jail

Jean Bosco Gasasira, Journalist Newspaper Umuvugizi

Jean Bosco Gasasira, Journalist Newspaper Umuvugizi

Rwanda’s highest court this Friday June 3  sentenced a journalist in exile to two years and six months in jail, after finding him guilty of inciting civil disobedience and insulting the president.

The journalist, Jean Bosco Gasasira, editor of the bi-monthly newspaper Umuvugizi was acquitted by a lower court in September but the prosecutor appealed against the acquittal and asked for a 10-year sentence.

“The supreme court found him guilty of inciting civil disobedience, and insulting the head of state and sentenced him to two years and six months in prison,” a source at the court told AFP by telephone.

The verdict was confirmed by human rights activists who attended the hearing.

Reporters without Borders said it was “appalled” by what it said was Rwanda’s determination to hound an exiled journalist from an anti-government paper.

The Paris-based media rights watchdog called on the supreme court, whose rulings cannot be appealed, to uphold the earlier acquittal.

RSF said Gasasira has been harassed and prosecuted on several occasions over the past years.

Umuvugizi was suspended for six months on 13 April 2010. As tension mounted in the run-up to the August 2010 presidential election, Gasasira went into exile in order to continue working, and launched an online version of the newspaper.

In June 2010 Jean-Leonard Rugambage, Umuvugizi’s deputy editor, was shot and killed at the gate of his home in Kigali.

Two men have been jailed for life for the killing but rights groups have charged that the authorities were behind it, a claim they have repeatedly dismissed.

[AFP]

1 comment

1 DAVID { 06.04.11 at 11:56 am }

Imagine how low Kagame has sunk!

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