Investigative reporter freed provisionally after prosecutor reduces charge

first_img RwandaAfrica Reports Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the use of trumped-up charges in an attempt to intimidate John William Ntwali, an investigative reporter and editor of the Ireme news website, who was released provisionally yesterday after being held by the police for 13 days.Arrested on 28 January, Ntwali was initially accused of raping a minor but the case subsequently unravelled, reinforcing the impression that the charge was fabricated because his reporting is critical of the government.It emerged that the alleged rape victim, arrested at the same time as Ntwali, was in fact 20 years old and showed no signs of violence, leaving the prosecutor with no choice but to reduce the charge to indecent exposure. Although vaguely defined in Rwanda’s criminal code, the charge carries a possible sentence of 2 to 5 years in prison.“We are relieved by Ntwali’s release but we continue to be concerned about the charge he is facing,” said Clea Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “The prosecutor’s case is gradually evaporating, going from rape of a minor to consensual physical contact with an adult woman. This gives the impression it was trumped-up in order to intimidate this journalist. We urge the authorities to drop all charges against him.”Ntwali’s investigative website Ireme, which often carry stories that reflect badly on President Paul Kagame’s government, was the victim of a cyber-attack in April 2014. A second version of the site, created to circumvent the blocking, has also been rendered inaccessible.Interviewed by Radio France Internationale, Ntwali denounced the charges and said he had been threatened in connection with his coverage of the suspicious death of Assinapol Rwigara, a former ruling party financier who was killed when his car collided with a truck in Kigali in February 2015. His family insists that it was not an accident.The media are not free in Rwanda and are subject to constant harassment. The premises of East African, a newspaper owned by Kenya’s Nation Media Group, were raided by armed police on 3 February. The computers and hard disks of two journalists were seized and Yvan Mushiga, a reporter who often covers sensitive stories, was arrested and questioned for five hours at a police station.Rwanda is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. Organisation News April 6, 2020 Find out more Covid-19 in Africa: RSF joins a coalition of civil society organizations to demand the release of imprisoned journalists on the continent Follow the news on Rwanda RwandaAfrica February 10, 2016 – Updated on March 8, 2016 Investigative reporter freed provisionally after prosecutor reduces charge to go further News Photo: John William Ntwali , Igihe.com Receive email alerts News November 27, 2020 Find out more The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa BBC Africa’s “disproportionate and dangerous” dismissal of a journalist RSF_en February 13, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Noonan fears further pain for taxpayers’

first_img Previous articleThreat to future of St Paul’s Nursing HomeNext articleWillie in Wonderland admin House prices could lose half their value, says Goodbody’s THE Government has forced NAMA to use out-of-date, inaccurate information to  overvalue bank loans, according to Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan. Goodbody’s prediction that house prices will end up falling by 50% before levelling  out, he said, spells yet more  trouble  for  NAMA and further pain for taxpayers,  “The  prediction that house prices will lose half their value is desperate news for struggling homeowners.  This  outcome would send thousands more tumbling into negative equity.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “The  consequences for  NAMA and the taxpayer are equally worrying. NAMA’s so-called  ‘business  plan’ is based on the assumption that property prices will  rise  from  the  levels  of  last November – the reference period for determining  the  current market values of the banks’ toxic developer loans that  NAMA  is  buying.“ But  according  to  Goodbody’s,  house prices have continued to plummet since then and are set to fall by a further 16% in the immediate future”.It was bad enough, continued deputy Noonan, that the taxpayer was being forced to pay far more than current  market  values  for  toxic  developer loans in a tumbling property market on the basis of their ‘long-term economic value.“But making matters even worse is the fact that NAMA is forced by the Government legislation to estimate  this  long-term value using outdated and inaccurate information.“Only last week  the  ESRI  predicted  that  the  Irish  labour force and population would  shrink  in the coming years because of recession-related emigration. This will mean lower demand for property. But in estimating the long-term value  of the property-related assets that it is buying, NAMA is prevented from using economic and demographic projections from beyond last January.  At  that  time, the CSO was still predicting a growing population for Ireland in the coming years”.There were, he continued, certain accountancy rules which require banks to  state  their  asset  value  on the date of audit, and prevent them from predicting a declining market, but that no such constraints applied to NAMA. “The  chances  of NAMA recovering taxpayers’ money, he concluded, seemed slimmer by the day. Advertisement WhatsApp Linkedin Emailcenter_img Twitter NewsLocal NewsNoonan fears further pain for taxpayers’By admin – July 22, 2010 507 Print Facebooklast_img read more