Saturday, June 05, 2010

Rwanda / United States

US Hopes Rwanda Will Free Erlinder on Compassionate Grounds
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, June 4, 2010
"The United States called Thursday for Rwanda to release on 'compassionate grounds' Peter Erlinder, a controversial US attorney jailed in the African nation last week and who has been hospitalized. 'We are pressing the Rwandan government to resolve this case quickly, and we would like to see him released on compassionate grounds,' State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters. Crowley said Erlinder is 'still in the hospital.' Rwandan police said Erlinder tried Wednesday to commit suicide in custody in Kigali, but Erlinder's defense counsel questioned the claim. Erlinder was detained on charges of denying the 1994 Tutsi genocide. Rwanda is prosecuting Erlinder for 'denying the genocide, in what he writes and what he says. If denying the genocide is not a crime in his country then it is in ours,' prosecutor Martin Ngoga told AFP.
Erlinder, who is defending a suspected genocide mastermind at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, was arrested on May 28, after traveling to Rwanda on a different assignment -- to defend an opposition figure -- Victoire Ingabire -- also accused of denying the genocide. Erlinder frequently accuses the ICTR prosecution of covering up crimes committed in 1994 by the Rwandan Patriotic Front of President Paul Kagame."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

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