|JANUARY 22, 2003|
Ismael Mbonigaba, Umuseso
IMPRISONED, THREATENED, LEGAL ACTION
Mbonigaba, editor of the private, Kinyarwanda-language newspaper Umuseso, was detained in the capital, Kigali, and charged with "inciting division and discrimination."
The charges stem from a January 13 Umuseso article reporting that Faustin Twagiramungu, the country's former prime minister, would run against President Paul Kagame in elections scheduled for July 2003. The article was accompanied by a cartoon of Kagame implying that only he could decide the future of the government.
On January 24, Mbonigaba was remanded to Kigali's Central Prison. On February 27, he was released because of procedural errors in his arrest and detention. The journalist told CPJ that after he was freed, he received several threats on his cell phone.
APRIL 22, 2003
Rwandan police seized all copies of the new private weekly Indorerwamo at the Rwanda-Uganda border. Most Rwandan publications are printed in Uganda, where costs are lower. Police alleged that Indorerwamo is an illegal newspaper because the government had not authorized its publication. Local journalists said they believe that the paperwas seized because the editor sensationalized or used provocative terms that recalled the 1994 genocide to criticize the country's leaders.
NOVEMBER 19, 2003
Posted: November 21, 2003
Robert Sebufirira, Umuseso
Kalisa McDowell, Umuseso
Furaha Mugisha, Umuseso
Emmanuel Munyaneza, Umuseso
Charles Kabonero, Umuseso
Sebufirira, editor of the independent Rwandan weekly Umuseso, was arrested at about 9:30 a.m. on November 19 near the Rwanda-Uganda border as he was bringing back 4,000 copies of the newspaper from the printers. (The newspaper is printed in Uganda for financial reasons.) Police seized the copies and took Sebufirira to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Rwanda's capital, Kigali. Later that day, Umuseso deputy editor McDowell; journalists Mugisha, Munyaneza, and Kabonero; and driver Budeyi Nassan went to CID to inquire after Sebufirira and were also detained.
Sebufirira said the journalists were separated and interrogated about an article in the seized edition of the newspaper, which questioned why certain senior army officers were being demobilized. He said the article also questioned why taxpayers' money had been used to send Major General Kyumba Nyamwasa, director of the national security services, on a U.K. training course if he was being demobilized.
A police spokesman told CPJ that the article was "aimed at inciting sectarian behavior." The journalists denied this claim.
The journalists, who said that the police hit them, questioned them about their sources, and gave them water but hardly any food, were released today without charge.
Local journalists and human rights activists expressed fears that Umuseso was being harassed for taking a critical stance toward the government. Umuseso former editor Ismail Mbonigaba, now in exile, was imprisoned for more than a month early this year, charged with "inciting division and discrimination" for reporting that former Prime Minister Faustin Twagarimungu would run against President Paul Kagame in elections. Three Umuseso journalists were also imprisoned for two weeks in 2002.