Rwanda prosecutor says Erlinder’s american lawyer Kurt Kerns could be expelled
Kigali – Government is demanding that Mr. Kurt Kerns publicly appologise to the Rwanda National Police or the three lawyers to embattled Prof. Peter Erlinder are forced out of the country, Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said.
Mr. Kerns is currently leading the three-man defense team of detained Erlinder. The others are Kenyan attorneys Kennedy Ogetto and Gershom Otachi – who have acquired accreditation for the defense of the embattled Erlinder.
Prosecutor General Ngoga told an impromptu press conference in the morning that Mr. Kerns was propagating information in the American media that Rwandan Police are “killers” who could even poison the detainee Erlinder.
Mr. Kerns must extend a public apology to the National Police or he could be barred from staying in the country along with his co-attorneys, according to Ngoga, at the press briefing in which no questions were allowed.
In one of the American newspapers, Mr. Kerns said Monday: “It’s a Rwandan jail, there are mosquitoes, not enough blankets, overcrowded conditions.”
He was commenting on the hospitalization of his client Mr. Erlinder. Mr. Kerns also described the case against his client as “ridiculously weak” and “pathetic”, to a US radio station.
Mr. Kurt Kerns is not new to trouble. He is one of the three lawyers with Prof. Erlinder who have filed a suit in US State of Oklahoma against President Kagame for the alleged assassination of the ex- Rwandan and Burundian presidents. Mr. Kerns is also the defense attorney of 83-year-old Genocide suspect Lazare Kobagaya, currently on trail on the state of Kansas.
RNA has not been able to secure comment from the defense team, but the BBC Kinyarwanda service reported Wednesday evening that Kennedy Ogetto – one of the Kenyan defense attorneys was shocked to be informed that Prof. Erlinder had been hospitalized over alleged suicide.
Police had told reporters at around mid-day that Mr. Erlinder had swallowed 50 tablets of three medications including Sertraline for depression, Metoprolol for hypertension and simvastatin for high blood pressure.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Dr. Daniel Nyamaswa, who also heads the newly built high-end Police hospital, said after the suicide attempt, the medication was removed from Erlinder and he will be taking the drugs from the doctors at King Faisal Hospital.
“I do not want to stay in prison anymore, I prefer to die,” said Erlinder to doctors, after making him vomit all the medications and recovering from the traumatic experience, according to ACP Dr. Nyamaswa.
However, attorney Ogetto told the BBC Kinyarwanda service that he had not been able to see their client by 1900hours. Apparently, when he met Erlinder in the morning, he was in normal health, and that doctors had requested he be allowed to rest for another 24hours to recover from the Monday hospitalization.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General Ngoga told the press that Erlinder is “retracting everything” that he has said about the Tutsi Genocide. “Part of what Erlinder is saying in our statements now is that he is retracting everything he has said with respect to the Genocide,” said Ngoga.
The country’s top prosecutor revealed that Erlinder had committed to leave the country immediately if he is released, and will never return except with an invitation from the authorities.
Ngoga said all these statements had been made in the presence of his lawyer, but it was not clear which of the three attorneys.
However, attorney Ogetto reportedly expressed shock at information he was getting from media reports such as RNA suggesting Erlinder was giving-in.
By press time, it was not clear if the defense had managed to meet Erlinder.