Rwandan Police have arrested Peter Erlinder, the American lawyer who traveled to Rwanda's capitol, Kigali, on Monday, May 23rd, to join the defense team of Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.
Ingabire was released after being summoned to a Rwandan police station yesterday, much to the relief of her supporters, but this morning both she and the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported that Erlinder had been arrested and charged with "genocide ideology," a crime unique to Rwanda which Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even the U.S. State Department have denounced as a tool of political repression.
Erlinder, a prominent critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame's regime, and of the received history of the Rwanda Genocide, had traveled to Kigali after attending the Second Intetnational Criminal Defense Lawyers' Conference in Brussels.
State run Rwandan media have attacked Erlinder since his arrival and the Rwandan News Agency report that he is now in custody and being interrogated at the Rwandan Police Force’s Kacyiru headquarters.
The RNA also reports that the American embassy in Kigali have taken up the matter, but it is not yet clear in what form. The Embassy is located just meters away from the police headquarters.
Before leaving for Bruxelles and then Kigali, Erlinder notified the U.S. State Department, his Minnesota Congressional Representative Keith Ellison, and Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.
Erlinder bases his critique of the Kagame regime and the received history of the 1993 Rwanda Genocide on the evidence collected in his Rwanda Documents Project.
Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch
Welcome to Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library