Jailed Rwandan dissident deserves apology over witchcraft slur

Three Rwandan news outlets were ordered Friday to apologise for accusing a jailed opposition leader of witchcraft, according to the head of an independent media watchdog.

An article printed in a newspaper and a news website, and then repeated by a radio station, alleged that Victoire Ingabire tried to poison a child in prison.

"We found that it was a malicious story," Fred Muvunyi, head of the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), told AFP.

Ingabire was sentenced in December to 15 years in jail on several charges including terrorism.

The reports ran a photograph of Igabire cradling a baby to mark International Women's Day, but said it showed the prisoner "caught red-handed trying to bewitch the said child," according to the RMC.

Ingabire, arrested in 2010 soon after returning from 16 years in exile in The Netherlands, was a rare critic of the iron-fisted rule of President Paul Kagame.

"We order them to publish a public apology to the readers and listeners, and then a letter of apology to Victoire Ingabire," Muvunyi said.