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Arusha, January 12th 2007 (FH) – Hassan Ngeze, a self-taught and subversive man, ready for anything to turn the spotlight on him, former chief editor of the radical paper Kangura, has nothing in common with the two defendants alongside whom he will appear next week in the Media trial before the Appeals Court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). As opposed to his two co-accused, Ferdinand Nahimana – historian - and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza – magistrate -, two very self-restrained scholars, Ngeze, 46 years old, never misses an chance to shine. The former director of Kangura, who hasn’t even been through to secondary school, was condemned to life in prison in December 2003 after he was found guilty, among other charges, of public and direct incitement to genocide, by the means of his paper. Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, who stood beside him before the court of first instance throughout the 37 months their trial lasted, were respectively sentenced to life imprisonment and 35 years in jail. Last June, while all the inmates at the United Nations Detention Center were holding up the sitting President of Rwanda to public obloquy, accusing him of being at the root of all the troubles Rwanda went through between October 1990 and July 1994, Ngeze wrote to Paul Kagame for his forgiveness. Still in denial and, once more, defending Kangura, he sparked confusion. «I write to ask for your forgiveness, after I have spent over nine years in prison, condemned for crimes I did not commit », his letter reads. « My diary has never published during the genocide. Kangura republished articles that have been in circulation for over 40 years », Hassan Ngeze continued. « The point in publishing the Hutu’s Ten commandments and the Tutsi’s Nineteen commandments was to inform the public opinion on the detrimental influence of such destructive philosophies and to invite (the Rwandans) to work out their differences. I am not the author of the Tutsis’ Ten commandments », the prisoner proclaimed. Those famous Hutu’s Ten Commandments convey a feeling of hate between Hutus and Tutsis, the two major ethnic communities in Rwanda. Before this letter, in an interview given to a Tanzanian paper, Ngeze had boasted about his help toward the poor. Later, beset with nostalgia for his country, he had asked Rwandan officials to visit him. He had been somewhat comforted when he received a group of junior journalists from Kigali preparing a reportage about the ICTR. His biggest disappointment since he was sentenced must have been the Tribunal’s refusal regarding the request to get married in prison he had been filing repeatedly since 2005. But it wasn’t the first time since his imprisonment that he was hit with Cupid’s arrows. In the middle of his trial, he had sent a billet doux to Simone Monasebian, a member of the prosecution team. The young American woman complained to the Chamber but the South African judge, Navanathem Pillay, had brushed it off. The young Ngeze, a jack-of-all-trades, a « street kid » as he willingly calls himself, went into journalism in 1990. He started working at Kanguka (Wake up), a newspaper highly critical of the government of Juvénal Habyarimana. An unpredictable and whimsical man, he quickly quit Kanguka to set up his own newspaper that he called Kangura (Wake) and at the head of which he spent four glorious years. After he took refuge in Kenya following the victory of the RPF, he continued living very comfortably. Some remember how Rwandan refugees would line up every morning at his door to be given some food and the occasional coin. Others, on the other hand, recall how he led the United Nations police on the track of wanted men. Hassan Ngeze was finally arrested himself in Kenya in 1997 during the police sweep against the members of the Rwandan « milieu » exiled in the country. His two co-accused were arrested in Cameroon. ER/PB Hirondelle News Agency