Niyonsenga alias Cyuma Hassan gained popularity over talk shows aired on his channel dubbed Ishema TV.
Two days ago, the High Court handed him seven-year jail term and slapped him with Rwf5 million fine after he was found guilty of four charges including forgery, impersonation, and humiliating state officials.
The crimes were committed on 15th April 2020 when he declined to obey security officials that requested him to comply with COVID-19 preventive measures.
At the time, he was arrested and later acquitted by Gasabo Intermediary Court. The Prosecution appealed against the verdict whereafter, he was handed seven-year sentence by the High Court which also ordered his arrest. He was detained on 11th November 2021 one day after court delivered the verdict.
Following the ruling, international media started distorting reasons of his sentence through their publications. For instance, Al Jazeera have written that Niyonsenga has been sentenced over using his YouTube Channel to criticize the Government of Rwanda.
BBC has also reported that the public perceives Niyonsenga as a ‘hero’ and ‘enemy of the country’.
The story also reads that Niyonsenga is renowned as someone who spoke for the voiceless people.
In response to these reports, the Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Yolande Makolo condemned biased media reports distorting the truth.
“This sensationalism is misleading. Niyonsenga was arrested for violating the COVID lockdown and convicted for practicing without the required permit, presenting forged press cards, assault, criminal obstruction of security officials and law enforcement when asked to return home,” she said.
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