Allow me to react to the article, “Col. Byabagamba, Rusagara charged” (The New Times, August 30).
I would like to advise that we desist from commenting on a case that is slated for trial, when both the court of law and that of public opinion may then be better to judge the seriousness and veracity of the evidence against the defendants.
That said, I would also take issue with the notion that the freedom to say anything or propagate any and all ideas must be considered sacrosanct no matter the potential harm it might wreak. Under this ridiculously erroneous logic, the right of the murderous RTLM (I find it reasonable to call it “Radio Télévision Libre des Machetes”) to call for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi or for the Nazis to carry out the extermination of European Jews and other peoples they considered sub-human would be recognised.
And yet our sedition laws—intended to secure the state against its enemies—are closely modeled on those of our colonial masters’ own state security laws and more recent anti- terror legislation.
The United States and the United Kingdom have, for instance, enacted laws that make it a serious crime to glorify or praise terrorist organisations or make common cause with them, whether by deed or by word, spoken or written. A number of people are now serving serious prison sentences in the West under those (anti-free speech) statutes.
Given these facts, I am always surprised by those who insist our own states must fully disarm themselves in the face of even greater dangers to our national security; all in the name of a maximalist view of freedom of speech which is not recognised anywhere else despite the incessant propaganda we are subjected to about freedom of expression in the West.
Mwene Kalinda, Rwanda