A Rwandan court has sentenced Yvonne Idamange, a Rwandan Youtuber known for her critical YouTube comments on President Paul Kagame, to 15 years in prison.

The mother of four was also fined around Ksh.221,100; the prosecution sought a 30-year sentence and a Ksh. 663,300 fine.

Ms Idamange was found guilty on all six charges she faced, including inciting insurgencies or public uprisings and defaming genocide commemoration artifacts.

She was also convicted of spreading rumors, assault and causing bodily harm, obstructing the work of law enforcement agencies, and issuing a bouncing check.

According to the Judge, the accused published several videos on YouTube with the intent of inciting insurgencies, causing instability, and tarnishing the image of the government and its leadership.

During the trial, prosecutors detailed how Idamange deliberately spread rumours or falsehoods in various videos with the intent of inciting people to protest at the Office of the President of the Republic.

During  submissions, the prosecution primarily relied on evidence from videos posted on YouTube prior to her arrest, as well as a Rwf400,000 bounced cheque she issued to Emmanuel Nsabimana.

The court determined that Idamange made false and disparaging claims with the intent of inciting people to rebel against the government, as well as intentionally made claims about the life of the President of the Republic, knowing full well that they were false.

In one of the videos, Idamange claimed that the Head of State “died a long time ago” and that citizens should protest at Village Urugwiro, demanding to see his body. Idamange went on to call the government a “bunch of bandits.”

The court also heard Idamange claim that COVID-19 had become a new tool for the government to repress people, replacing the 1994 Tutsi Genocide, and that the government had turned Genocide memorial sites into tourist attractions.

“The government is selling our loved ones’ bodies,” Idamange said in one of her videos.

Prosecutors claimed that the majority of her comments were insulting, derogatory, and false in every way.

The prosecution also claimed that Idamange purposefully refused to cooperate in a law enforcement exercise by refusing to open the door for police officers when they arrived to arrest her on February 15.

When they finally gained entry, she assaulted one of the officers with a bottle, injuring him in the process.

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