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Seventeen years in jail for one woman journalist, seven years for another

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the pigheadedness and cruelty of the Rwandan judicial system, which has just passed extremely long jail sentences on two women journalists, Agnes Uwimana Nkusi, the editor of the privately-owned bimonthly "Umurabyo", and Saidath Mukakibibi, one of her reporters.

On 4 February 2011, a Kigali high court imposed a 17-year sentence on Nkusi and a seven-year one on Mukakibibi on charges of inciting civil disobedience, causing divisions and denying the 1994 genocide.

Nkusi's lawyer told Reporters Without Borders he was very disappointed by the verdict and intended to appeal to the Supreme Court.

"The high court went too far," he said. "It took no account of our requests. Our view is that the court has no tangible evidence of their criminal guilt. This case should be tried as a disciplinary matter by the Media High Council. These two journalists should be released. Furthermore, the sentences they have been given are very severe."

The two women have been detained since 8 July 2010. In January, prosecutors requested a 33-year sentence for Nkusi and a 12-year one for Mukakibibi.
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