Editor of bi-monthly acquitted on appeal
RWB, Paris, 26/04/10
Reporters Without Borders today welcomed the acquittal on appeal of Asumani
Niyonambaza, editor of the bi-monthly newspaper Rugari.
A judge at the Nyarugenge High Court in the capital Kigali on 23 April quashed his two-
year jail sentence handed down in the lower court on a charge of “extortion” and ordered
his immediate release. The appeal judge said there was no proof of the editor’s guilt.
“We hail the release and acquittal of Asumani Niyonambaza, who has been imprisoned
for more than eight months for an offence he did not commit”, the worldwide press
freedom organisation said. “The High Court decision does no more than deliver justice to
this editor and his newspaper.”
Niyonambaza was sentenced in August 2009. Two other accused, Frank Kalisa
presenter on privately owned radio Contact FM, and Richard Rutagwenda, sanitary
services agent, were both acquitted. Niyonambaza then launched an appeal.
13.09.2009 - Two journalists given jail sentences in separate cases two days apart
Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of two journalists who have been given
prison sentences in separate cases in the past few days. Newspaper editor Asumani
Niyonambaza was sentenced to two years in prison. Reporter Amani Ntakundi got a
“There were absolutely no grounds for these jails sentences,” Reporters Without Borders
said. “Trials, threats, intimidation and smears are all used to punish independent
journalists in Rwanda. We urge the judges who convicted these journalists to reverse
Niyonambaza, the editor of the Kinyarwanda-language fortnightly Rugari, received his
sentence on 7 August from the Nyarugenge district court in the capital, Kigali, after being
convicted of trying to extort 500,000 Rwandan francs (630 euros) from a businessman in
return for not publishing an article about him.
Two other journalists, radio presenters Frank Kalisa and Richard Rutagwenda of
privately-owned Contact FM, were acquitted on the same charge. Niyonambaza, who is
being held in the main Kigali prison, has appealed against his conviction.
Ntakundi, who works for the fortnightly Rushyashya, received his sentenced from a
Gacaca (special people’s court for crimes relating to the 1994 genocide) in the southern
city of Butare for taking photos while covering a trial on 5 August.
As he had a permit issued by the national agency for Gacaca courts, Ntakundi thought he
was allowed to take photos. But the court ruled that he was disrupting its work and
ordered him detained on the spot for a three-month period. He was taken to Butare
The two jail sentences were imposed in the same week that Umuseso, a weekly often
targeted by the Rwandan authorities, was suspended for three months. See the release on