The High Court in Rwanda has popular YouTuber Yvonne Idamange to 15 years in prison for launching and marinating fierce criticism on the government of President Paul Kagame as well as the way the 1994 genocide is commemorated.
Additional charges on the content creator also included calling for a protest and spreading a rumour about the death of the president.
The 42-year-old content creator has since denied all charges.
Idamange was arrested in February after posting videos where she criticised the government and the BBC reports that she also accused Kagame’s reign of bankrolling the 1994 genocide. She was also emphatic that the remains of the victims should not be displayed at memorials.
Also among her grievances was the response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the impact of lockdowns on the poor.
According to Human Rights Watch, Ms Idamange’s trial – held behind closed doors – was designed to intimidate anyone thinking of expressing critical, sensitive, or controversial views.
The group has opined that the 15-year prison sentence was part of a wider plan to curtail free speech in Rwanda.
According to the African Freedom Network, the mother of four was also arrested in February this year where she faced six charges that included public disorder and insurrection.
Then the charges amounted to “spreading rumors using technology”, “using counterfeit bank cheques” and “obstruction of the implementation of government policies”.
She denied the charges then as well and Rwanda’s opposition PS Imberakur criticized her arrest and arraignment, describing it as an attempt to stifle free speech.