212-679-5100, ext. 15
Wednesday, June 2
A Reuters article is reporting that Peter has retracted all statements that might have violated Rwandan law. However, the article relies on comments from the chief prosecutor in Rwanda and confirmation from an unnamed source. We have not received any information of this kind from anyone in close contact with Peter.
The State Dept confirmed in its daily briefing today that Peter is back in the hospital and that both embassy officials and his lawyers have access to him. He will remain in the hospital overnight. The state department said it is not otherwise in a position to comment on the particulars of the situation, or on the specifics of his medical situation, citing patient confidentiality. The video and transcript of the briefing should be available after 4 pm at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/index.htm.
A troubling article also in several papers indicating that the Rwandan government has issued statements accusing Peter of attempted suicide by swallowing pills in his cell. Initial reports from Peter’s colleagues and lawyers in Rwanda assure us that this is false, government propaganda.
However, Sarah Erlinder confirms that Peter is back in the hospital. The circumstances that brought him there are still unclear, but she said his lawyers and a representative from the U.S. Embassy have been able to visit him and report that he’s stable. We are concerned that this latest suicide report may indicate that Rwandan authorities might harm him.
“I think that it means that his situation has gotten absolutely dire. I think that they have to either consider it an attempt on his life or laying the groundwork to kill him and claim that it was suicide,” Sarah Erlinder said in an interview from D.C.
Peter’s family and NLG representatives are in Washington, D.C. attempting to meet with the State Department and the UN. A press conference is scheduled for Thursday, June 3 at 9:30 am in the West Room of the National Press Club, 529 14th St, NW, Washington, D.C.
Articles about Peter have appeared in the Associated Press, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and several other publications. Here is a sample of a few well-written profiles.
Monday, May 31
Report came in that Peter was brought to the hospital following interrogation. After tests were run, it was determined that high blood pressure was the problem and Peter was returned to the jail. This article from Minnesota Public Radio gives an update on his condition.
Phone numbers of important officials to call on behalf of Peter:
Call the White House: 202-456-1111
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Secy of State Hillary Clinton: (202) 647-9572
Bureau of African affairs: (202) 647-4440
Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs: (202) 647-2530
Rwanda embassy (NY): (212) 679-9010 or (212) 679-9023
Stephen J. Rapp war crimes ambassador: (202) 647-6051
Susan Rice, US AMB to the UN Accredited Journalists: (212) 415-4050
Rwanda Mission to the UN in USA: (212) 679-9010 or (212) 679-9023
Rwandan Amb. James Kimonyo: (202) 232-2882
Sample Call Script
My name is ____________, I am calling/writing about the arrest of Prof. Peter Erlinder in Rwanda last Friday morning. He was in Rwanda acting as an attorney, representing his client, opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. I am asking to ask you to demand his immediate release from Rwandan jail. His detention violates his human rights, he is in danger and as an U.S. citizen deserves the highest level of advocacy and protection from the U.S. government.
Saturday, May 29
Facebook group “Free Prof. Peter Erlinder Now” launches.
Friday, May 28
First conference call to discuss options and ways to help. Peter’s family and the NLG asking people to call the following people to demand Peter’s release.
Call and demand the immediate release of Professor Peter Erlinder:
Senator Al Franken
Or send an email at http://franken.senate.gov/contact/
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Or send an email at http://klobuchar.senate.gov/emailamy.cfm?contactForm=emailamy&submit=Go
Representative Keith Ellison
Or send an email at http://forms.house.gov/ellison/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm
Representative Betty McCullom
Fax: (202) 225-1968
Or send an email at http://forms.house.gov/mccollum/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm
NLG issues press release, and piece by Executive Director Heidi Boghosian appears in the Huffington Post.
Peter Erlinder, professor at William Mitchell of Law, past NLG president and defense attorney for Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, was arrested by the Rwandan government on charges of “genocide ideology.”
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