Former Rwandan University Lecturer Arrested For Alleged Genocide Denial
Rwandan authorities have reportedly arrested 44-year-old Aimable Karasira on charges of denying one of the greatest and most horrifying genocides in the world. Karasira allegedly broadcasted conspiracy theories prompting over 62 000 of his subscribers and the public into a controversial debate about the truthfulness of the 1994 genocide. The Rwandan Investigative Bureau (RIB) stated that Karasira had been sharing divisive remarks about the genocide for a few days before his arrest.
The video that caught the RIB’s attention was reportedly posted on May 20 wherein Karasira questions certain events of the 1994 genocide. Additionally, he allegedly accused the ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front of “fuelling hate”. His remarks have admittedly caused tensions for Tutsi survivors, including President Paul Kagame. Karasira’s accusations seem to oppose Kagame’s call for the Rwandan nation to sow forgiveness between each other, a pleas that extended to include Macron’s recent acknowledgement of France’s role in enabling the genocide.
Rwanda is intolerant of political dissent, and this has spurred a movement of outspoken Rwandan YouTubers. Karasira’s arrest is not the first of its kind, prior arrests have been publicly criticised for infringing on freedom of speech. According to News24, a couple of Rwandans have been on the receiving end of the government’s crackdown.
Yvonne Ndamange was arrested in March this year after using her channel to call for protests against President Paul Kagame’s “dictatorial rule”. In a grave turn of events, poet and YouTuber Inncocent Bahati has been reportedly missing since February 7, 2021 after sharing personal poems that were critical of the government. However in light of these arrests, Karasira’s stands out in that it singles out a historical event and dangerously uses it as cannon fodder to attack the current political regime. This is made no better by the fact that the former Information Technology lecturer was recently fired from the University of Rwanda for “ill discipline”.
Karasira’s arrest comes a week after Rwanda held a memorial for the 1994 genocide where French President Emmanuel Macron was in attendance. His accusations are a stark contrast to Macron’s admittance that it is time for France to examine its role in the genocide.