Dot coms behind bars

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Of all the things a man accused of inciting genocide could smuggle into a jail cell, a computer modem would seem low on the list. Yet that’s what UN officials seized from Hassan Ngeze, who ran a Web site from prison he used to denounce the international judges hearing his case.

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Ngeze was the editor of the Rwandan newspaper which published the Hutu Ten Commandments, a document that encouraged massive violence against the Tutsis, reports the GUARDIAN (UK). He has legal access to a telephone, fax, and personal computer in jail, which he has been using to attack the international court over the Internet. The Web site — with long defamations of the judges and photographs of Ngeze working out inside the prison — is registered under his name, but the UN has been unable to shut it down because it’s monitored by an outside supporter.

Ngeze has refused to attend his trial, alleging the judges are conspiring against him with the support of the Tutsi-led Rwandan government, and that the prosecution witnesses are lying.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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