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Rwanda17 July 2008

Government deports independent weekly’s deputy managing editor

Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns this week’s deportation of Furaha Mugisha, the deputy managing editor of Rwanda’s leading independent weekly, Umuseso. Despite having a Rwandan mother, Mugisha is a citizen of neighbouring Tanzania.

“This is an unacceptable act of intimidation that yet again highlights the Rwandan government’s inability to tolerate the few independent publications,” Reporters Without Borders said. “In the run-up to legislative elections, we remind the government that media diversity is an essential condition for the holding of democratic elections.”

Plain-clothes police came to Mugisha’s home in the north Kigali district of Kacyru at 4 a.m. on 12 July and said they wanted to take him to their office to assist in an investigation. But instead they drove him to the immigration department and from there he was taken to the Rumoso border crossing into Tanzania and expelled.

“This is all part of a desire to gag the press and uproot the independent media,” Umuseso publisher Charles Kabonero said. Employed by Umuseso since 2003, Mugisha was the victim of a knife attack in 2004 by assailants who were never identified.

With a Rwandan mother and a Tanzanian father, Mugisha used to have a Rwandan passport and ID card, but the authorities refused to renew them in 2005.

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