The High Court Chamber of International and Cross Border Crimes on Thursday sentence Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza, the self-proclaimed YouTube activist, to 15 years in prison after she was found guilty on all six charges she was facing, which include inciting insurrections or public uprising and denigrating genocide commemoration artifacts.
Idamange was also found guilty of publication of rumours, assault and causing bodily harm, obstructing the work of law enforcement organs and issuing a bouncing cheque.
The Judge said the accused published several videos on YouTube with the intention of causing insurrections, instability and tarnishing the image of the government and the leadership. Idamange will also pay a fine of Rwf2m.
During the trial Prosecutors detailed how Idamange, in various videos deliberately propagated rumours or falsehoods with the intention of inciting people to go and protest at the Office of the President of the Republic.
During submissions, prosecution mainly relied on evidence from the videos which were posted on Youtube before her arrest and a bounced cheque worth Rwf400, 000, which she issued to one Emmanuel Nsabimana.
Court found that Idamange made false and disparaging claims with a purpose of inciting people to rise up against the government and also deliberately made claims about the life of the President of the Republic, well knowing that they were false.
In one of the videos, Idamange claimed that the Head of State ‘died long ago’ and citizens should go to Village Urugwiro and protest, demanding to see his body. Idamange further referred to the government as a ‘bunch of bandits.’
Court also heard how Idamange said that COVID-19 had become a new tool the government was using to repress people, replacing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, further claiming that the Government had turned Genocide memorial sites into tourist attractions.
“The government is selling the bodies of our loved ones” claimed Idamange. Prosecutors said that most of her remarks were insulting, derogatory and false in every sense.
Prosecution further said that Idamange deliberately refused to cooperate in a law enforcement exercise, by refusing to open for Police officers when they came to arrest her on February 15. When they eventually gained access, she attacked one of the officers with a bottle, injuring him in the process.
Her application for bail was denied twice by the primary and intermediate courts.