Agnes Uwimana Nkusi
Name: Agnes Uwimana Nkusi
On 18 June 2014, Rwandan journalist Agnès Uwimana Nkusi was released from prison after completing a four-year sentence on spurious charges of defamation and harming state security motivated by her independent reporting.
Reason Behind Bars:
On July 10 2010, Agnes Uwimana Nkusi and her colleague Ms. Saidati Mukakibibi were arrested following the publication of articles in the independent Kinyarwanda-language newspaper, Umurabyo (edited by Ms Uwimana), which criticized the Rwandan government and President Paul Kagame.
The Rwandan High Court charged both journalists with endangering national security, genocide denial, defamation of the President and divisionism (the issuing of statements that could be divisive and/or inflammatory). On February 4 2011, Ms Uwimana was sentenced to a total of 17 years imprisonment (with 5,10, 1 and 1 years for each of the charges, respectively), under the country’s vague and overly broad ‘genocide-ideology’ and sectarianism laws.
On April 5 2012, the Supreme Court cleared Ms Uwimana of the charges of genocide denial and divisionism, thereby reducing her sentence. However, the charges of defamation and endangering national security were upheld by the Court, leaving Ms Uwimana to serve out the remainder of her four year sentence.