Global Campaign for Human Rights strongly condemns the sentencing of the journalist Stanley Gatera of Umusingi. This case seriously damages the prospect of a free media and free expression in Rwanda.
12 November 2012; Gasabo Intermediate Court on sentenced 22 years old Mr Gatera to a one-year jail term and fines of 30,000 Rwandan francs for inciting divisionism and gender discrimination in an opinion column he published in Umusingi in June.
According to the prosecutor the article written by Mr Gatera breach the laws about referring to ethnic identities. Our analysis of that article found that it reflects the author's opinion and it neither provocative nor intending to do so.
Global Campaign for Rwandan Human Rights urges Rwandan authorities to release Mr Gatera, pending his planned appeal.
Global Campaign for Rwandan Human Rights hopes that the appeal court will be able to overturn the prison sentence handed to him.
We urge the Rwandan authorities to release all journalists that have been imprisoned exercising their professions. Rwandan authorities should be aware that wherever media freedom is in jeopardy, all other human rights are also under threat. A free media is essential to democracy and it fosters transparency and accountability, both of which are prerequisites for sustained personal and economic development.
GCRHR - Rwanda Team