By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
The High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes based in Nyanza district, Southern province on Thursday handed a 10-year jail term to Phocas Ndayizera who was a BBC freelance journalist in Rwanda for terror-related cases.
Ndayizera was accused along with 12 other suspects of terror-related crimes including the plot to cause insecurity in the country according to prosecution.
They were arrested separately in 2018 and have been in prison since then. The court also sentenced six other co-accused to 10 years but acquitted six others and ordered for their immediate release.
The judge said the crimes the accused were convicted of were serious ones and could attract heavier sentences but they got the light sentence of 10 years owing to the fact that they were arrested before they committed the crimes.
The prosecution also alleged that the former journalist Ndayizeye worked with one, Cassien Ntamuhanga who, prior to committing the alleged crimes escaped the justice from the prison where he was serving another 25 years prison at the International Mpanga prison.
He escaped in October 2018 and, according to the prosecution continued to work with Ndayizera to plot terror attacks in Rwanda. He was sentenced to another 25 years in absentia.
Throughout the trial that started last year, Ndayizera and his co-accused denied all the allegations and prayed for the court to set them free.
However, the prosecution insisted that the accused committed serious crimes and prayed for the court to hand the life sentence to all of them.
The prosecution accused of intentions to topple the current government, treason and calling others to commit terrorism, the crime to join terror groups among others.