Rwanda Information Portal

Human Rights Watch researcher refused permit

Kigali: Ms. Carina Tertsakian, the Human Rights Watch research in Rwanda must leave the country after the Immigration Department dismissed her new application for a work permit, it emerged Friday.

In early March, Ms. Tertsakian saw her original permit cancelled on alleged discrepancies in her documents. The Immigration Department said the signatures on her documents seemed like they have been forged.

A deal was reached between Human Right Watch and government under which she applied for a new permit. The situation was so “delicate” that when contacted by RNA towards end of March and beginning of April for an update on her permit, Ms. Tertsakian said her organization wanted to keep the situation out of public discussion.

The situation is very delicate and my organization prefers that it keeps a low profile, she told RNA.

It has now emerged that her application was rejected by the authorities. Government accuses her of “spreading lies” about the country.

The rights campaign group remains in the bad books of government that it’s former Africa expert, the late Alison Des Forges was banned from coming to Rwanda.

A British national, Ms. Tertsakian reported in Rwanda on January 25 to start work.

Meanwhile, the long awaited appeal verdict in the defamation case against journalist Jean Bosco Gasasira and his UMUVUGIZI newspaper was ruled today.

State prosecutor Jean Bosco Mutangana and Rwanda women network chair Dr. Diane Gahumba dragged the controversial journalist to court following a series of damning articles which alleged a complicated extramarital relationship.

Both Gasasira and his accusers had appealed. The Gasabo appeal court maintained the previous ruling, saying the two sides did not produce any new elements which undermine the lower court’s ruling.

The UMUVUGIZI publisher was found guilty on defamation and evading the privacy of the two government officials. However, the court cleared him of the charges of insult and using abusive language.

In the ruling, court ordered that Mr. Gasasira pays up to Rwf 3million (about US$ 6,000) as damages to the plaintiffs, instead of the Rwf 50million demanded. However, Mr. Gasasira is currently of the country, and it is not clear if he will return.

In other news, weekly tabloid UMUSESO – one of the two suspended for six months has dragged the High Media Council to court, alleging the decision was illegal and politically motivated. The papers were suspended two weeks ago.

UMUSESO editor Didas Gasana filed the case Friday with Nyarugenge court of higher instance, but told reporters that he was just going to court for formality because he did not have faith in the judicial system.



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