Rwandan journalists get long jail terms

Feb. 5, 2011 at 2:13 PM

KIGALI, Rwanda, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Two Rwandan journalists have been sentenced to long jail terms for allegedly writing articles meant to incite "hatred" against the government, officials said.

The women have been in custody since their arrest in July, one month before the country's presidential election, the BBC reported.

The women worked for the Umurabyo newspaper. Editor Agnes Nkusi was sentenced to 17 years and reporter Saidath Mukakibibi received a seven-year sentence.

Prosecutors said articles published by the newspaper were "meant to stir hatred and fury against the government."

President Paul Kagame has been accused of intolerance and harassing his detractors.

His government defends its strict media laws and he blames the "hate media" for its alleged part in the genocide that slaughtered some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Nkusi was found guilty of libel, genocide revisionism and other charges. Mukakibibi was found guilty of disrupting state security.

The newspaper they work for was prohibited from publishing for six months last year shortly before the presidential election in which Kagame was re-elected by a landslide.

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