Rwanda | Detained local journalist released on bail
Local journalist Idriss Byiringiro Gasana was granted bail by Judge Theophile Nzisabira of Kibagabaga court after spending almost two weeks behind bars.
The political journalist was recently paraded before the press by the police, where he told journalists that he staged everything that happened on him.
But when Byiringiro appeared in court on Monday, He told the court that he was forced into confessing that he faked his own kidnapping.
In that press conference, he confessed that he had faked allegations that he was harassed by individuals claiming to work for the intelligence services in Rwanda.
His confession came just after two days in police custody with no contact with lawyers, his employer or family members.
But the head of the Chronicles, Dr. Christopher Nayumba, who had filed a complaint with the police, had maintained that his journalist was intimidated.
Prosecutor Janvier Heshimana during the first hearing insisted Byiringiro sent the threatening messages to his own MTN line using Kenya’s SafariCom sim card.
Prosecutor Heshimana added that Byiringiro was contradicting himself by first saying he was kidnapped, and then saying it was faked.
But Byiringiro’s attorney, Evarist Nsabayezu, told the court his client’s previous comments were not relevant.
Referencing legal texts, he said all that mattered was what Byiringiro was saying, in front of the judge.
Byiringiro’s arrest reportedly followed four weeks of intimidation, harassment and interrogation of the journalist by individuals who claimed to work for the intelligence services.
Now he has been temporarily been set free on conditions of not stepping out of Kigali unless, he is headed for the National University of Rwanda in Butare since he is still a student.
Byiringiro faces a maximum of five years in jail for his charges. If found guilty, he will be the first journalist tried under the new penal code, brought into law last month.
Meanwhile another local journalist of Radio Huguka who was jailed over slip-up wards during genocide commemoration period has been set free without any charges.