BBC, Amazing Grace Radio journalists convicted for terrorism

BBC Journalist in Rwanda Phocus Ndayizera and Cassien Ntamuhanga former radio presenter and director at Amazing Grace Christian Radio have been handed 10 and 25 years of imprisonment respectively, according to Umuseke online newspaper in Kigali.

The ruling took place today 6 May 2021 at the High Court Chamber of International Crimes in Nyanza District Southern Province.

The court said it sentenced Ntamuhanga more years in prison than others because he was found to be the ring leader in the perpetration of the terror crimes which all the accused pleaded guilty during the bail hearing but made a U-turn and pleaded not guilty during the trial hearings.

The court also sentenced six of the 12 co-defendants to 10-years imprisonment and acquitted the other six of the felony terror charges against the established government and joining a criminal association.

Phocus Ndayizera was arrested in mid-November 2018 at Nyamirambo a Kigali suburb along with one Eliaquim Karangwa sharing explosives including dynamites after being tracked for some time according to prosecution.

The prosecution prayed for life imprisonment for all the accused in the trial that started September 2019 a year after they had been arrested.

The prosecution presented Whatsapp messages between Ndayizera and Ntamuhanga with the latter promising $15000 in pay for terror activities in Rwanda including blasting power and water installations.

The explosives that Rwanda Investigation Bureau presented to the media as exhibits BBC journalist Phocus Ndayizeye and Eliaquim Karangwa wanted to use in terror activities

Ntamuhanga escaped from prison in 2017 after serving two of the 25-year imprisonment for terror charges and is now alleged to be in exile.

Ntamuhanga had been arrested in 2014 along with Late Kizito Mihigo for working with Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the former genocidal militias and ex-Rwanda army who formed FDLR rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Cong.

While Ntamuhanga escaped from the prison sentence of 25 years in 2017, his co-accused Kizito Mihigo continued to serve his eight-year prison sentence until 2018 when he was given a presidential pardon.

The singer Mihigo was later rearrested trying to sneak out of the country and died in police custody a few days after his re-arrest.

Ndayizera who had had almost five months without reports to the banned BBC Kinyarwanda was revealed by the prosecution as one who wanted to implement the terror activities that the radio presenter Ntamuhanga had failed to inflict from his alleged bosses the ANC and FDLR.

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