Woman journalist is cleared of genocide charges and released after 11 years in detention

    RWANDA, Nov. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders has learned with
great relief that Tatiana Mukakibibi, a former presenter and producer with
state-owned Radio Rwanda, was finally acquitted of genocide charges by a
"gacaca" popular tribunal in the southern district of Ruhango on 6 November
after 11 years in pretrial detention. Aged 42, Mukakibibi was reunited with
her family on 10 November.
    "After 11 years in detention for nothing, we hope this journalist will
finally be able resume a normal life with her daughter, who is now a
teenager," the press freedom organisation said. "This tragic case must be
regarded as closed, now that Mukakibibi has been cleared of the charges
brought against her."
    At the end of a three-hour hearing, a gacaca in the Kimegeri sector of
Ruhango (in South province) acquitted Mukakibibi on charges of genocide,
planning and participating in genocide and distributing weapons in Kimegeri
between April and July 1994.
    A series of defence witnesses testified that she was not in Kimegeri when
the presidential guard distributed weapons for use in the genocide and did not
participate in any killings, including the murder of Eugène Bwanamudogo, a
Tutsi journalist who was producing broadcasts for the agriculture ministry.
    After the 1994 genocide, Mukakibibi went to work for André Sibomana, a
Catholic priest, human rights activist and former editor of the newspaper
Kinyamateka, who won the Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France prize
in 1994 and who died in March 1998.
    Arrested on 2 October 1996, Mukakibibi was held in appalling conditions
in a communal cell until December 2006, when she was transferred to a prison.
The most specific accusation brought against her was Bwanamudogo's murder. She
said denied the charge and said it was trumped up as part of an attempt to
smear Sibomana.

    Reporters Without Borders established a system of sponsorship 16 years
ago in which international media are encouraged to adopt imprisoned
journalists. More than 200 news organisations, journalists' associations,
press clubs and other entities throughout the world are currently supporting
journalists by regularly calling on the authorities to release them and by
publicising their cases.

    Mukakibibi was adopted by Amina, Les Clés de l'Actualité, Fun Radio
(Belgium), Flair, Claire Gibault (Member of the European Parliament),
L'Itinéraire, Elle Québec and Chérie FM.

For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, secretary general, Reporters
Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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