Jailed in Rwanda, attorney Peter Erlinder briefly hospitalized
Erlinder has high blood pressure
By Mara H. Gottfried
Updated: 06/01/2010 04:58:38 PM CDT
Peter Erlinder, law professor
Peter Erlinder (Raoul Benavides)
A St. Paul attorney jailed in Rwanda was hospitalized with high blood pressure Monday after being interrogated, according to his daughter and an attorney.
Peter Erlinder, who is charged with promoting genocidal ideology, is expected to be kept in the hospital overnight and returned to jail today, said Sarah Erlinder, his daughter.
The hospitalization came after Erlinder was interrogated for up to five hours Monday, said Gena Berglund, associate director of the International Humanitarian Law Institute of Minnesota. She said she didn't know how much of that time Erlinder had spent meeting with his attorneys. "Toward the end of the five hours, Peter said he was not feeling well and asked to see a doctor," Berglund said. "He was transported to the hospital."
Peter Erlinder, a faculty member at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, is in Rwanda to help defend presidential hopeful Victoire Ingabire against charges of promoting genocidal ideology. Ingabire, an opposition candidate, was arrested earlier this year.
Erlinder was arrested on charges of genocide denial Friday, after he warned that he might be targeted by the government of President Paul Kagame.
Sarah Erlinder said an American attorney in Rwanda, who hasn't been allowed to represent her father, called her Monday morning to report the medical problems. In an interview Monday night, she said she had recently received word from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office that the hospital wasn't "able
to find anything seriously wrong with him."
"His high blood pressure seems to have been aggravated, which isn't surprising given the situation," she said.
Rwandan officials had blocked lawyers Sunday from visiting Erlinder. Two Kenyan attorneys and a Rwandan attorney were able to see him Monday, Berglund said.
Sarah Erlinder, of Flagstaff, Ariz., said she and other family members plan to travel to Washington, D.C., this week and hope to arrange a meeting with the U.S. State Department.
"It's becoming clear to everyone that this was a wrongful arrest, and the law he's arrested for violating is a very repressive law," Berglund said.
Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Monday night that "we're continuing to work to make sure he's treated fairly and get this done as quickly as possible so he can go home."
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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