(NewsReady.com) – Rwanda is not a country that welcomes negative reporting about the government. John Williams Ntwali didn’t care. The journalist who wrote for The Chronicles was one of the few reporters who were brave enough to write about what was really happening with officials. Now he is dead, and someone has been fined for their role in his demise.
In January, Ntwali died in a car accident in Kigali. The journalist was on a motorcycle when Moise Emmanuel Bagirishya rammed him with a speeding vehicle. The driver pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for his part in the accident and apologized. The Guardian reported the court ordered him to pay 1 million Rwandan francs ($920).
According to reports, the trial was not open to the public. However, a few journalists were invited into the court when the verdict was read.
Prior to the guilty verdict, Human Rights Watch demanded an “effective, independent, and transparent investigation” into the death of the journalist.
The authorities in Rwanda should allow an effective, independent, and transparent investigation into the suspicious death of John Williams Ntwali, a leading investigative journalist and editor of the newspaper The Chronicles.https://t.co/hcObft08xo pic.twitter.com/pQg3WjKP6d
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) January 23, 2023
Lewis Mudge, director of Human Rights Watch Central Africa, said the journalist was “a lifeline” for many of the country’s citizens who were victims of human rights violations. He applauded Ntwali for daring to “report on issues of political persecution and repression.” As for the account of how the journalist died, the director said there are many questions surrounding that explanation.
Human Rights Watch reported that Ntwali often faced backlash for his work. He was both threatened and attacked by the supporters of the government. On January 17, just before his death, the journalist posted a story about the disappearance of a survivor of the genocide who’d spoken out after law enforcement beat him in 2018.
There’s no indication the journalist was intentionally murdered because of his reporting. Still, activists want a probe. How likely they are to receive one is unclear.
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