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Rwanda: arrest of YouTubers and members of the opposition accused of "spreading rumors"


Six people, including the host of a YouTube channel and three members of an opposition party, were arrested Wednesday in Rwanda, accused of ...

Six people, including the host of a YouTube channel and three members of an opposition party, were arrested Wednesday in Rwanda on charges of

"spreading rumors"

aimed at undermining the government, AFP learned from Thursday. of the police.

Among those arrested is Thoneste Nsengimana of the Umubavu TV YouTube channel, which has more than 16 million views and on which Rwandans have been called to denounce human rights violations allegedly carried out by the government.

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"This is an organized group that intends to spread rumors aimed at causing uprisings or unrest among the population by using different social media platforms,"

Thierry Murangira told AFP on Thursday. - speech of the Rwandan Bureau of Investigation (RIB).

In a statement Wednesday evening, the RIB urged Rwandans to be wary of certain social media commentators who seek to

“undermine national security”

and the government, and recalled that

“anyone arrested will be prosecuted”.

Victoire Ingabire, founder of the non-approved Dalfa Umurunzi (Development and Freedom for All) movement and opposition figure to President Paul Kagame, said a total of seven people had been arrested, including six members of her party.

"I take it as intimidation,"

she told AFP. Victoire Ingabire returned from exile in 2010 to run against Kagame in the presidential election, but was arrested and jailed for eight years on terrorism charges, a sentence later increased to 15 years. She was released after a presidential pardon in 2018. Several people were arrested by authorities after posting material critical of the government to YouTube, raising concern from civil rights groups. Last month, Yvonne Idamage, 42, was found guilty in particular of

"inciting violence"

and sentenced to 15 years in prison and more than 1,700 euros in fines, after accusing Kagame and his government of dictatorship.

Rwanda, led by Paul Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide which left 800,000 dead, according to the UN, mainly Tutsi, is regularly accused by NGOs of repressing freedom of expression, critics and political opposition .

In March, Human Rights Watch expressed concern over the attitude of authorities against people using YouTube or blogs to speak out on sometimes controversial issues.

HRW then claimed that at least eight people reporting or commenting on the news - including the impact of strict anti-Covid measures that have hit the poorest hard - had been threatened, arrested or prosecuted over the past year.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-10-14

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