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Rwanda: “The doctors found there was nothing wrong with him…” said Police about jailed Prof. Erlinder

Prof. Peter ErlinderProf. Peter Erlinder

Kigali – The American attorney Prof. Peter Erlinder was taken to hospital Monday evening following hours of intense questioning by detectives, and there are even suspicions he may be poisoned. The Police fiercely dismissed the allegations saying there is nothing wrong with him, RNA reports.

Mr. Kurt Kerns, a fellow American lawyer who has taken up the case assisted by two Kenyan attorneys said the professor’s jail stay appears to be aggravating his health conditions, including high blood pressure. The Kenyan attorneys Kennedy Ogetto and Gershom Otachi demanded the medical intervention on Erlinder’s behalf.

Mr. Kerns has been barred from accompanying Erlinder during the interrogation. However, two Kenyan attorneys got credentials to practice in Rwanda and were representing him.

RNA can reveal that Mr. Kurt Kerns 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.

“It’s a Rwandan jail, there are mosquitoes, not enough blankets, overcrowded conditions,” Kerns is quoted as saying Monday at about 11 p.m. in Rwanda.

Toward the end of the five hours, Erlinder said he was not feeling well and asked to see a doctor, sources narrated. He was transported to the high-end King Faisal hospital which is located in Kacyiru – within the same area as the CID headquarters where the Prof. is being held.

Police Spokesman Eric Kayiranga said Erlinder’s lawyers were allowed to take him to hospital, but said the doctors “did not find anything wrong with him.”

Meanwhile Erlinder’s wife, Masako Usui is quoted in US media as saying she is worried her husband could be killed in Rwanda. “I’m getting more and more angry,” she said.

Usui said Erlinder has high cholesterol and is running out of medication. Some of Erlinder’s allies in Rwanda have even warned her that the jailers may try to poison his food, according to her.

But Police Spokesman Kayiranga simply laughed off the allegations. “Who said Police makes people sick?” he asked.

“The doctors found there was nothing wrong with him….he was brought back for continued investigations,” he added.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota – Erlinder’s home state, said Monday that there’s no indication Erlinder was jailed for any reason other than representing his client, the opposition politician Victoire Ingabire. Senator Klobuchar said she has expressed her concerns to the U.S. State Department.

“I know their focus is on his fair treatment and that the process moves fairly and quickly, so we’re giving every [piece of] information to the highest levels of the embassy,” Klobuchar told US media. “Our hope is that there will be some kind of hearing either today, tomorrow, or Wednesday, and hopefully he can be at least released out of jail.”

But Klobuchar said she doesn’t know whether Erlinder will be able to come home anytime soon, as he works his way through Rwanda’s struggling judicial system.

The medical attention came on Erlinder’s fourth day of detention in a Rwandan jail. Last Friday, authorities locked up the American criminal lawyer for allegedly spreading what are considered illegal views on the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.

As for when the case will come to court, Police Spokesman Kayiranga said simply “you will be informed”.


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