April 6, 2021

YouTubers Denied Bail Nearly Three Years Ago Attempt to Have Their Case Heard


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The three appeared today in the Court of Appeal seeking to be freed unconditionally

Three young journalists who have been in jail since October 9, 2018 have launched a fresh appeal seeking to be set free.

The trio Shadrack Niyonsenga, Damascene Mutuyimana and Jean Baptiste Nshimiyimana were arrested on the allegation that their IWACU TV YouTube channel had posted videos that were a security threat.

They would eventually be charged with causing unrest and spreading rumors. A court in Kigali denied them bail and the three have remained in pretrial detention ever since.

Media freedom campaign groups have kept reporting about them, helping keep their case in the limelight.

In recent weeks, the three filed appeal in the Court of Appeal accusing the state of illegal detention. Through their lawyers Jean Paul Ibambe and Gilbert Ndayambaje, the accused journalists say their charge sheet has also beeb changed.

Appearing this Tuesday in all person, they told the appeals judge of how they had been ignored. They want to be granted bail because, in part, they have spent nearly three years in jail yet some of their charges carry about a year.

Prosecution for its side said the accused shouldn’t waste the court’s time, instead should wait for their case to heard as a judge has also been allocated to the case.

The in the prosecution dossier, they cited videos that alleged a war was brewing in Rwanda and that FLN rebels had taken over parts of the country. Prosecution also said these materials were also found on laptops confiscated from the journalists and on the Iwacu TV YouTube channel.

The YouTube channel, which aggregates other news sources and sometimes presents these reports with new commentary and insight on the topics, covers issues including politics, relationships, and sports, according to Committee to Protect Journalist’s (CPJ) review of the channel. The last videos posted to the Iwacu TV channel were uploaded on September 25, 2018.

ALSO READ: Watch What You Post On Social Media Or The Government Is Coming For You: Here are 10 Victims

CPJ reviewed a September 20, 2018, video on Iwacu TV’s YouTube page that heavily cited other media sources and alleged that the Rwanda National Congress, an opposition group in exile, had support in Uganda and Burundi.

Rwandan authorities have previously accused Uganda of providing a “safe haven” for the RNC.

The three defendants denied the charges and said that they aggregated their content from local media and international media houses but exaggerated some of their headlines to draw traffic, according to local media.

In response to allegations that their content caused fear, the journalists said that they had received no such feedback from viewers since they started the YouTube channel.

The trio Shadrack Niyonsenga, Damascene Mutuyimana and Jean Baptiste Nshimiyimana were arrested on the allegation that their IWACU TV YouTube channel had posted videos that were a security threat.

They would eventually be charged with causing unrest and spreading rumors. A court in Kigali denied them bail and the three have remained in pretrial detention ever since.

Media freedom campaign groups have kept reporting about them, helping keep their case in the limelight.

In recent weeks, the three filed appeal in the Court of Appeal accusing the state of illegal detention. Through their lawyers Jean Paul Ibambe and Gilbert Ndayambaje, the accused journalists say their charge sheet has also beeb changed.

Appearing this Tuesday in all person, they told the appeals judge of how they had been ignored. They want to be granted bail because, in part, they have spent nearly three years in jail yet some of their charges carry about a year.

Prosecution for its side said the accused shouldn’t waste the court’s time, instead should wait for their case to heard as a judge has also been allocated to the case.

The in the prosecution dossier, they cited videos that alleged a war was brewing in Rwanda and that FLN rebels had taken over parts of the country. Prosecution also said these materials were also found on laptops confiscated from the journalists and on the Iwacu TV YouTube channel.

The YouTube channel, which aggregates other news sources and sometimes presents these reports with new commentary and insight on the topics, covers issues including politics, relationships, and sports, according to Committee to Protect Journalist’s (CPJ) review of the channel. The last videos posted to the Iwacu TV channel were uploaded on September 25, 2018.

ALSO READ: Watch What You Post On Social Media Or The Government Is Coming For You: Here are 10 Victims https://www.chronicles.rw/2019/09/19/watch-what-you-post-on-socia-media-or-the-government-is-coming-for-you-here-are-10-victims/

CPJ reviewed a September 20, 2018, video on Iwacu TV’s YouTube page that heavily cited other media sources and alleged that the Rwanda National Congress, an opposition group in exile, had support in Uganda and Burundi.

Rwandan authorities have previously accused Uganda of providing a “safe haven” for the RNC.

The three defendants denied the charges and said that they aggregated their content from local media and international media houses but exaggerated some of their headlines to draw traffic, according to local media.

In response to allegations that their content caused fear, the journalists said that they had received no such feedback from viewers since they started the YouTube channel.

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