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article imageKagame arrests another journalist, UK defunds its Media Council

By Ann Garrison     Jul 9, 2010 in Politics
Kigali - Two weeks after the murder of Rwandan journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, following his criticism of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Rwandan Police arrested Agnes Uwimana, the director of a privately owned newspaper, Umurabyo.
Uwimana, prior to her arrest this week, served a one-year jail sentence for defamation and promoting "division," which means attempting to challenge President Kagame's power or version of the tragic 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
Uwimana resumed publishing Umurabyo after serving her term in early 2008. If convicted again, she could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
Kigali Police Chief Eric Kayiranga said that Uwimana is accused of "incitement to civil disobedience, contempt of the head of state, spreading rumors to cause public disorder and denying the genocide of the Tutsis."
In recent weeks, the government media regulatory body had warned Uwimana, who runs the Umurabyo newspaper, that she might be arrested if she continued to criticize the government.
Didas Gasana  Editor of Umuseso  Kinyarwanda language newspaper banned by Rwandan President Paul Kag...
Didas Gasana, Editor of Umuseso, Kinyarwanda language newspaper banned by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Didas Gasana, Facebook Profile Photo
However, in British Parliament this week, the Department for International Development (DFID) said that it would stop funding Rwanda's "High Media Council," a Rwandan media licensing and regulatory agency which many have come to see as a tool of repression, after its indictment of Umuvugizi Editor Jean Bosco Gasasiras and Umuseso Editors Didas Gasana and Charles Kabonero.
Members of the House of Commons had questioned the head of the DFID about its support for the repressive Rwandan regime, about exclusion of the opposition from this year's 2010 presidential election, and about Rugembage's assassination right after his report accusing Rwandan President Paul Kagame of ordering the assassination of fugitive Rwandan General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa.
Critics of the Kagame regime have long urged its leading military and financial supporters, the US and UK, to stop supporting him in the interests of human rights and democracy. Critics of the US and UK say that imperial and military motives have been behind the funding.
Umuvugizi journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was buried after a memorial service in Kigali on Saturda...
Umuvugizi journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was buried after a memorial service in Kigali on Saturday, June 26th. Rugambage was gunned down outside his home in Kigali on June 24th.
Courtesy Jean Bosco Gasasira, Umuvugizi Editor
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