Two journalists released from prison in Rwanda

Two Rwandan journalists were released from prison in June and July 2013 after completing their jail terms, according to news reports.

Saidati Mukakibibi was released in June 2013 after serving a three-year jail term, news reports said. She was arrested along with her colleague, Agnès Uwimana, in July 2010 on charges of divisionism, genocide denial, defamation, and incitement to violence, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalists were accused in connection with a series of critical articles published in the now-defunct independent Umurabyo.

Umurabyo had raised questions about a number of sensitive topics, including the July 2010 murder of journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, the fallout between President Paul Kagame and two now-exiled military leaders, and reports alleging lavish government spending on luxury jets, according to local journalists.

Uwimana and Mukakibib originally faced jail terms of 17 years and seven years respectively, but a Supreme Court appeal hearing in April 2012 dropped the genocide denial and divisionism convictions and reduced Uwimana’s term to four years and Mukakibib’s term to three years, news reports said. Uwimana will remain incarcerated for another year.

Authorities on July 26, 2013, released Stanley Gatera, editor of the independent weekly Umusingi, after he finished serving a one-year jail term, according to news reports. Police had arrested Gatera, 22, in August 2012 after they said they received complaints from Tutsi women’s groups.

In November 2012, a lower court had convicted Gatera on charges of divisionism and gender discrimination for an opinion piece that suggested men may regret marrying a Tutsi woman solely for her beauty, according to local journalists. Despite the fact that Gatera did not write the article and submitted a written apology in the following edition, an appellate court upheld the ruling in March this year, according to CPJ research.