The CJA is among leading human rights and free speech movements from many parts of the world who have questioned the circumstances around the death of the Rwandan investigative journalist John Williams Ntwali, and demanded an independent inquiry. See picture of family and colleagues at the funeral of Mr Ntwali in January.
A total of 86 organisations have backed the call for justice for Mr Ntwali, who was editor of The Chronicles newspaper, which exposed human rights abuses in Rwanda. He also ran a YouTube channel where he openly questioned state policies like taxes on land, arrests of opposition politicians and YouTubers, and questioned the death of singer Kizito Mihigo – a government critic. He had received death threats in the past, and shortly before his death, he again expressed concerns for his safety.
“We urge Rwanda’s international partners, including the Commonwealth, to stand by their stated commitment to defend media freedom and to call on Rwanda to allow such an investigation, drawing on international expertise,” the organisation said in a joint statement.
Mr Ntwali was killed when he was knocked off a motor cycle in a suburb of Kigali in January. Court authorities are reported saying the other driver involved in the collision has been fined after admitting manslaughter and unintentional bodily harm. But civil society organizations and media associations have questioned what they call the hasty conviction of the driver, and condemned lack of transparency surrounding the case despite the high level of interest.