Rwanda’s Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a petition filed by a lawyer challenging sections of the country’s penal laws was legitimate and would be heard.
The court subsequently set a March 18, 2019 date to hear submissions from Richard Mugisha’s lawyers, Rwanda’s The New Times portal reported.
The portions he is challenging include criminalizing of adultery, publication of cartoons and defamation against the head of state among others.
Mugisha's petition is legit and he has genuine interest as a citizen. He represents people and understands legal affairs.
The portal quoted Chief Justice Rugege as saying: “Mugisha’s petition is legit and he has genuine interest as a citizen. He represents people and understands legal affairs.
“He has the right to petition provisions that contravene the letter and spirit of the Rwandan Constitution.”
The said law came into effect in August 2018 and was widely criticized by a sections of the media and media rights groups.
Political cartoonists and satirists who fell foul of the law could face a two-year prison sentence and a fine of more than a thousand dollars. Media professionals called it a huge blow to that was certain to hamper their work.
Some of the provisions that were challenged by Mugisha, through his lawyers, include those that criminalise adultery, publication of cartoons and defamation against the Head of State, among others. #MugishaPetition— The New Times (Rwanda) (@NewTimesRwanda) January 18, 2019