Media Watch

Rwanda jailed scribes to appear in Supreme Court Monday

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By Robert Mugabe

rmugabe@greatlakesvoice.com

Kigali, Rwanda-Agnes Uwimana and Saidat Mukakibibi who were sentenced to 17 and 7years respectively will on Monday appear to Supreme Court on Monday following the appeal against the sentence, Great Lakes Voice reports.

The two vernacular Umurabyo tabloid journalists who had been initially convicted by High Court, presided over by Judge Pie Mugabo with Judge Angeline Rutazana and Judge Venaste Turayizeye, claim the ruling wasn’t fair now want Supreme Court to review their cases.

Agnes Uwimana was at the beginning found guilty on charges of “threatening state security, genocide ideology, divisionism, and defamation. As for Saidati Mukakibibi, reporter and deputy editor of Umurabyo, received a seven-year sentence on the charge of threatening state security.”

The two have insisted in courts that the offence committed was not with ‘intent’

Letter to the President

As the two scribes are preparing to appear in court by this Monday 30th, they had written a letter dated 38/2/2011, that Great Lakes Voice has a copy, to President Kagame asking for the presidential pardon. Accepting their-wrong doings to the President Paul Kagame and to all Rwandans in general, Uwimana and Mukabibi promised not to repeat the same mistake again.

“Your excellence, before becoming journalists we recognize that we are Rwandans and women who are supposed to seek that unites the society but not cause divisionism, we write to you begging your pardon and to all Rwandans for our articles,” reads the letter in apart

However, exchanges of the letters between the two journalists and prosecution office clearly protest the high court ruling as “unfair” and accuse the prosecution for “misinterpreting the articles published in Umurabyo.”

Great Lakes Voice understands the letter dated 20/01/2012 authored by prosecutor Jean Damascene Habimana pointing out the legal argument for Supreme Court to sustain the initial ruling.

President Paul Kagame had told the Uganda based Magazine “The Independent that 17-year sentence for Umurabyo editor was too harsh but also “reflects badly on the country” and his leadership

Against criminal defamation
In the same interview, President Kagame also expressed the view that he hoped parliament would scrap criminal defamation from Rwandan laws.
Asked whether he would recommend to parliament to scrap criminal defamation he stated: “I think that is happening already. I am told there are reforms going on and they seem to have had a wide range of consultations from different places beyond Rwanda. Laws like criminal libel and I think sedition have been repealed or are about to be repealed”

 

 

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Great Lakes Voice (GLV) is an independent news network that aims to provide Africa's Great Lakes Region with a source of uncensored news.

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