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Cablegate: Congolese Journalist Released, Expelled

VZCZCXYZ0025
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #0289 0801507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211507Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3931
INFO RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0034
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 0846
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1567
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0195
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0818
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0216

UNCLAS KIGALI 000289

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV RW
SUBJECT: CONGOLESE JOURNALIST RELEASED, EXPELLED

REF: KIGALI 195

1. (SBU) On March 21, Rwandan authorities released from
custody Congolese journalist Idesbald Byabuze, in detention
for approximately a month, and under investigation for a 2005
article criticizing the alleged Tutsi domination of the Hutu
majority in Rwanda (reftel). At the central "1930" prison in
Kigali, a local embassy employee observed Byabuze's departure
in an automobile under the supervision of four police
officers, who were escorting Byabuze to the DRC border at
Cyangugu/Bukavu. According to a local journalist given
access to Byabuze inside the prison, a representative of the
Prosecutor General handed Byabuze a letter officially
expelling him from Rwanda. Byabuze's attorney later
confirmed for us Byabuze's departure from the country at the
Cyangugu border post.

2. (SBU) Deputy Prosecutor General Alphonse Hitiyaremye told
polchief later in the day that his office had "exercised its
prosecutorial discretion" in deciding "not to pursue Byabuze
at this time." Rather, the decision had been taken to expel
the journalist, he said. Hitiyaremye noted that the
journalist had not been formally charged with any offense
during his detention, but that his office had reviewed the
submissions of the police and its own investigators, and
determined "not to take the opportunity" to prosecute.

3. (SBU) Comment. Hitiyaremye had earlier indicated the
likelihood that Byabuze had violated the Rwandan divisionism
statute in his explicit ethnic attack on the policies and
composition of the Kagame government (reftel). The GOR
appears to have decided that expulsion rather than
prosecution is the better policy choice, in regard to a
Congolese journalist easily escorted to the DRC border. End
comment.
ARIETTI

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