A Rwandan dissident who used his YouTube channel to criticise the government was on Friday, 12 November 2021, sentenced to seven years in prison by a court in Kigali.
Dieudonne Niyonsenga is the latest government critic with a YouTube audience to be jailed in the tightly controlled East African nation, which President Paul Kagame has ruled for nearly three decades.
Niyonsenga, whose YouTube channel Ishema TV had amassed more than 15 million views, was found guilty on Thursday on four charges including forgery, impersonation, and “humiliating” state officials.
The accused was not present in court and shortly after the verdict, the YouTube star was arrested.
The court found that Niyonsenga was guilty of willful misconduct and that the fine included a fine of R5 million ($ 4,900).
Better known as the YouTube persona Cyuma, meaning “Iron”, he was very vocal in discussing human rights abuses on his channel.
His arrest comes just weeks after another well-known critic and YouTube fan was sent to jail.
Last month, Rwandan government officials arrested six people including a journalist and members of the opposition who are accused of spreading rumours that they want to cause riots.
Theoneste Nsengimana, who runs Umubavu TV – a YouTube channel that often broadcasts anti-government issues, was among those arrested.