St. Paul lawyer interrogated again in Rwandan jail
St. Paul lawyer Peter Erlinder was interrogated by Rwandan authorities again Tuesday after being released from a hospital.
Erlinder, who is accused of denying the genocide that tore apart the Aftican nation in 1994, also was seen by at least one staffer from the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda's capital, said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
His wife, Masako Usui, said he was returned to jail Tuesday morning after falling ill and being hospitalized Monday. She said his lawyers told her he's basically safe but can't sleep well, and she's trying to send him his blood pressure medication.
Erlinder, 62, was arrested last Friday, shortly after arriving in Rwanda, where he had planned to help defend presidential hopeful Victoire Ingabire against charges of promoting genocidal ideology.
After being questioned at the jail for about two hours Monday, Erlinder was taken to a Kigali hospital after suffering from a fever and dizziness.
His American attorney, Kurt Kerns, said he believes conditions in the jail exacerbated Erlinder's preexisting ailments including high blood pressure.
Klobuchar said Kerns got permission Tuesday from Rwandan officials to represent Erlinder.
"We're continuing to push for his release," Klobuchar said. "He's an attorney who's represented all kinds of unpopular causes and clients, but that doesn't mean he should be jail."
Erlinder, a longtime faculty member at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, has outspokenly defended suspected terrorists, sex offenders and convicted murderers.
Two years ago, the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, called Erlinder a "genocidaire" -- a genocide criminal -- for taking the case of another defendant accused of genocide.
About 800,000 people died during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
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