By Halima Abdi
Published December 21, 2017
A human rights organisation has accused the government of Rwanda of preventing a journalist from attending a United Nations conference in Switzerland.
Freedom House says Rwandan authorities held Robert Mugabe, editor of an online news outlet called Great Lakes Voice at the airport and interrogated him for four hours about his work.
The interrogation, Freedom House says, prevented Mugabe from travelling to Geneva for the 2017 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that it describes as ‘a key United Nations gathering on internet-related issues’.
Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project at Freedom House, says Rwandan authorities not only questioned but also accused Mugabe of “‘working against the state, treason and spreading rumors to undermine the state,’ all because of his of critical reporting published online, previous meetings at the UN Human Rights Council, and other human rights activities.”
“Given the government’s record of taking arbitrary measures against human rights defenders and independent voices in the country,” Kelly says “Mugabe risks being charged for treason simply for reporting on and voicing his criticism of Rwanda’s human rights record.”
Kelly calls upon the UN and the IGF Secretariat to “urge the Rwandan government to end its arbitrary investigations of Mugabe and immediately lift the travel ban against him.”