By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - Rwandan police on Monday arrested an American pastor, Gregg Schoof, for “convening an illegal gathering".
The pastor was arrested shortly before addressing a press conference.
“Schoof was arrested for convening an illegal gathering on Monday morning,” police told reporters.
Authorities had revoked license for his radio station, Amazing Grace FM, last year.
The invitations he sent to media on the weekend said that he was supposed to apprise newsmen about court cases related to the closure of his radio station besides to discuss some other issues.
The pastor had appealed against the closure of his radio station in the Kigali High Court. He had also sought damages from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) for revoking the broadcast license.
He had argued that the shutdown of his radio station was done contrary to the provisions of the country’s laws.
Rwanda Media Commission, the media self-regulation body, was also respondent in the case.
The lower court had earlier rejected the claim that the radio station was shut down illegally.
Authorities suspended license for the radio station, alleging that it had aired a sermon, perceived discriminatory against women.
They claimed that on Jan. 29, 2018, the radio host Pastor Nicolas Niyibikora had described women as “source of evil”. Several women groups had criticized the pastor and radio station.
The Rwandan regulator said that they had revoked the radio broadcasting license following failure to apologize for the comments aired by the radio and its refusal to pay a fine of 2 million Rwandan francs ($2,165).
Schoof refused to apologize on behalf of radio host Pastor Nicolas. He argued that apologize would mean admission of guilt, which was yet to be proved in the court, as there was no testimony or any hearing.
The radio station was also accused by the regulator of failing to comply with Rwandan culture, norms and values as well as terms of its license.
Rejecting his plea, the High Court said the radio should have complied with the regulator’s directives before rushing to the court for appeal.