New York, February 4, 2011--Harsh prison sentences given to two journalists today under Rwanda's vague and sweeping laws against "genocide ideology" and "divisionism" will have a chilling effect on the Rwandan press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
A panel of three High Court judges in the capital, Kigali, sentenced Agnès of the now-defunct private weekly Umurabyo, to 17 years in prison and gave a seven-year prison term to former promoting discrimination, sectarianism, and genocide denial.
Defense lawyers told CPJ they planned to appeal the verdict to the Rwandan Supreme Court. Uwimana and Mukakibibi
"We condemn the continued use by Rwandan authorities of
vaguely worded laws against genocide denial and divisionism to intimidate the
press from critically covering the aftermath of the 1994 genocide," said CPJ
Africa Advocacy Coordinator
CPJ previously spoke out against public prosecutor's demands for 33-year prison term for Uwimana and a 12-year term for Mukakibibi.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline of this alert has been corrected to reflect the correct prison sentences.