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US lawyer Peter Erlinder denied bail by Rwandan court


Rwandan court has denied bail to the U.S. lawyer Peter Erlinder arrested on 28th May on charges of genocide denial and threatening state security. Peter Erlinder, the first foreigner accused under Rwanda’s 2008 genocide ideology law, pleaded not guilty at a hearing on Friday 4th June.

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June 8, 2010   No Comments

Kagame, his exploits and his supporters


This video is a recap of how the world has been making a murderer like Kagame a hero, forgetting that more than 7 million people’s blood is on his head plus plundering of DRC resources.
It is a shame that people we look up for spiritual like Pr. Rick Warren are part of this scheme of prasing a murderer who invaded an independent nation causing a retaliation which saw innocent people losing their lives…

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June 8, 2010   2 Comments

Received Rwanda genocide history is false. Prof. Peter Erlinder has evidence

Professor Erlinder’s evidence, the Rwanda Documents Project, gathered during his years of work as a defender at the ICTR, is the basis of his argument that the received history of the Rwanda Genocide is history written by the victors.
Listen to what Prof. Peter Erlinder said about that at the Second International Defense Lawyer’s Conference in Brussels, just before flying to Kigali to defend Ingabire.


Peter Erlinder speaking on 22 May 2010 in Brussels from ICTR Legacy.

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June 8, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: No bail for Peter Erlinder, Ingabire may hire another lawyer

Police escorted Erlinder back into custody

Police escorted Erlinder back into custody

Kigali: Peter Erlinder, the American lawyer arrested in Rwanda on Genocide denial charges, was handcuffed by police as the judge remanded him to 30 days of detention to allow for continued investigations and subsequent trial.

The accused has five days to appeal the decision but his client, presidential hopeful Victoire Ingabire, may enlist the services of somebody else.

Ingabire had hired Erlinder to defend her against Rwanda’s criminal charges of Genocide ideology, minimizing the Genocide, divisionism, and collaboration with a terrorist group. Erlinder is lead defence counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR), and in April he filed suit in America’s state of Oklahoma against President Paul Kagame for allegedly shooting down President Habyarimana’s plane, igniting Rwanda’s genocide.

Erlinder arrived in Kigali on May 24 and was arrested by Rwandan police on May 28, charged with genocide denial.

“On our part, we thought on medical grounds at least he would be released, at least on some conditions,” said Kenyan defence lawyer Gershom Otachi.

Ten days of arrest have proved detrimental to Erlinder’s physical well-being. He visited hospital twice, first because of high blood pressure and second for what police say was a suicide attempt. In court on Friday, Erlinder’s lawyers asked for him to be released so he could get adequate treatment.

Judge Maurice Mbishibishi, who is also handling Ingabire’s case, took the weekend to deliberate and gave the verdict Monday during sunset at Gasabo Intermediate Court, surrounded by maize fields 25 kilometres outside of Kigali. Mbishibishi sided with the prosecution, which had asked for Erlinder to remain detained.

The judge said that Erlinder’s lawyers have not shown a link between his sickness and being in detention, their main argument for bail.

Gaunt and unshaved, Erlinder received the news with his hand over his eyes. Police came, handcuffed him, and escorted him back to a cell.

Erlinder was represented by four lawyers including American Kurt Kerns, two Kenyans and a Rwandan. In addition, the Rwanda Bar had lined up five lawyers to advise the defense team.

“We’ll try to appeal, maybe,” lawyer Otachi said. “At this stage, I really cannot tell.”

Outspoken opposition critic Victoire Ingabire, whom Erlinder hasn’t had the chance to defend since arriving, was not surprised.

“The justice in Rwanda is not independent,” she said. “I am really worrying if the U.S. government will not do anything, that Peter (Erlinder) can stay in jail in Rwanda. But he’s innocent and everybody knows that he’s innocent.”

These sentiments also describe how Ingabire feels about her own charges. She’s stalled waiting for Erlinder to represent her, but that may not last.

“I am thinking to take another lawyer,” she said. “I will see who can take the place of Peter. But first I would like to see what will happen to Peter.”

The American’s lawyers say they are going to appeal the bail decision in Rwanda’s High Court.

[ARI-RNA]

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June 8, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda Government’s statement on court refusal to grant Erlinder bail

Kigali – Genocide ideology laws are not about politics or symbolism, and revisionists and ideologues who traffic in genocide denial will be prosecuted and imprisoned, according to Rwandan government spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo.

Mrs. Mushikiwabo, who is also Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, made these comments after a Kigali judge denied bail to Peter Erlinder, an American academic and lawyer who has been charged after more than a decade of promulgating radical revisionist theories about the 1994 genocide.

“There has been a lot of theatrics surrounding this case – not least from the defendant himself — but the fundamental issue at stake is whether Rwandans believe it is permissible for genocide defenders and deniers to threaten the hard-won stability and harmony they have built in the 16 years since the death of one million of their families, friends and neighbors,” Mrs. Mushikiwabo said.

“The Rwandan people overwhelmingly answer ‘no’ to Erlinder’s actions. In our democracy, the right of Mr. Erlinder and his co-conspirators to peddle lies and conspiracy does not supersede our right to heal and prosper as a people.

“The prosecution of Peter Erlinder is not a political tactic; it is an act of justice. If critics disagree with the Rwandan laws against the denial or defense of genocide, we invite and welcome that debate. What we reject is the politicization of the matter, when nothing strikes Rwandans as less political and more deeply personal than lies and distortions about our tragic and traumatic past,” Mrs. Mushikiwabo said.

Mr. Erlinder pleaded to the court that his physical and mental health were endangered by his ongoing imprisonment, but the Judge declined his request for bail.

“The Government respects the court’s ruling and has no interest in seeing Mr. Erlinder’s health suffer. He will be afforded all necessary medical and consular support, as well as full access to his legal counsel. His family should rest assured that he is being kept in humane and safe conditions,” Mrs Mushikiwabo said.

“The Rwandan Government takes no pleasure from Mr. Erlinder’s plight, but this needs to be understood: flagrant and orchestrated breaches of our genocide ideology laws will be met with the full force of the law.”

“Perhaps Mr. Erlinder thought that his citizenship, academic standing or media profile would protect him – why else would a law professor so knowingly and deliberately break the law by entering Rwanda? But he failed to understand that genocide defenders and deniers – however rich, powerful or well-connected — are regarded by Rwandans as serious criminals hell-bent on destabilizing our nation.

“That is why we will continue to pursue this prosecution in the spirit of justice and in the interests of a peaceful and prosperous Rwanda,” Mrs. Mushikiwabo said.

Republic of Rwanda
Igor Marara, +250(0)788305218
Advisor to the Government Spokesperson
imarara@minaffet.gov.rw

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June 8, 2010   No Comments

American lawyer Peter Erlinder to remain in jail after Rwanda denies bail

Peter Erlinder in court and his Kenyan lawyer, Kennedy Ogetto.

Peter Erlinder in court and his Kenyan lawyer, Kennedy Ogetto.

The St. Paul professor, Peter Erlinder, will remain in custody while being investigated by Rwandan officials, who promise that his health needs will be met.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Monday that she is asking for an expedited appeal in the case of Peter Erlinder, the St. Paul law professor who has been held in Rwandan custody since late last month.

The 62-year-old attorney appeared in court Monday and was denied bail while Rwandan officials investigate charges that he denied the country’s 1994 genocide and published articles that they say threaten the nation’s security. Erlinder pleaded not guilty on Friday.

“I am deeply disappointed that Rwandan authorities have decided to unnecessarily prolong Professor Erlinder’s detention and believe this decision should be reconsidered as soon as possible,” Klobuchar said Monday. The senator said she will contact government officials to urge an expedited appeal and “to convey my strong belief that he should be released.”

After the hearing where his bail request was rejected, Erlinder was transferred from the jail where he had been staying in for the past week to a general prison in Kigali.

Erlinder could be imprisoned for another month until his appeal is heard.

News that bail had been denied came as a blow to Erlinder’s family members, who gathered at his home in St. Paul to await the judge’s decision. Erlinder’s wife, Masako Usui, and his brother, Scott Erlinder, along with area supporters, received a brief e-mail update from Erlinder’s legal team in Kigali mid-morning.

“We’re disappointed that Pete won’t be released from jail or granted bail,” Scott Erlinder told reporters. “He’s expressed his willingness to cooperate by any condition imposed by the court of Rwanda, and we feel he should be released immediately. His family members are extremely concerned for health and his safety.”

In Monday’s hearing, a Rwandan judge rejected Erlinder’s argument that his physical and mental health would be jeopardized by continued imprisonment. Instead, the judge sided with the prosecution’s request to detain Erlinder during the investigation.

‘An act of justice’
In a statement that implied the government may not relent, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said: “The prosecution of Peter Erlinder is not a political tactic. It is an act of justice. Revisionists and ideologues who traffic in genocide denial will be prosecuted and imprisoned.”

Erlinder’s lawyers argued at a Friday hearing that his health could deteriorate if he remained in prison, and asked that he be returned to the United States for medical treatment. Erlinder has said he suffers from depression and high blood pressure.

Mushikiwabo said Erlinder would be given all necessary medical support he requires. “His family should rest assured that he is being kept in humane and safe conditions,” Mushikiwabo said.

Erlinder entered Rwanda on May 23 to represent opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire, who also has been charged with promoting “genocide ideology.”

A law professor at William Mitchell College of Law, Erlinder has called Rwandan President Paul Kagame a war criminal and said Kagame is partly to blame for the genocide that killed more than 800,000 Rwandans in the space of several months.

The slaughter was born of a long-standing conflict between Rwanda’s two major tribes, the Hutu and the Tutsi. The Hutus were in the majority at the time. Most of those killed were Tutsi rebels. Kagame was the leader of the Tutsi’s Rwandan Patriotic Front, which ousted the Hutus from power and effectively ended the genocide.

In April, Erlinder helped file a wrongful death lawsuit against Kagame that was filed in federal court in Oklahoma, where Kagame has ties to a university.

Erlinder leads a group of defense attorneys for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which is trying alleged leaders of the Rwanda genocide.

Since his arrest, Erlinder has been hospitalized twice, first after complaining of fever and dizziness and then when he swallowed a nonlethal dose of prescription pills in his cell. Rwandan police called it a suicide attempt, but his family said it was a strategy to escape the poor conditions of his jail cell for a hospital.

By late last week, international pressure had begun to mount and the U.S. State Department called for Erlinder’s release on compassionate grounds, without defending his actions.

Source: Star Tribune

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June 8, 2010   No Comments