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Rwandans deny access to jailed american lawyer Peter Erlinder

Rwandans deny access to jailed St. Paul attorney

A member of a lawyers’ group calling for his release said Peter Erlinder may get a court date today.

The attorneys who were allowed to visit with jailed St. Paul attorney Peter Erlinder on Saturday in Rwanda were denied access to him Sunday, his daughter said.

KPFA Radio News reported on the arrest of Rwandan Presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza’s American lawyer.

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”KPFA News: Rwanda arrests Peter Erlinder” dl=”0″]
(KPFA Radio News – Sunday evening, May 30,2010).

Calling it a troubling development, Sarah Erlinder, an Arizona attorney, said the lawyers were barred from seeing her father a day after they had been granted a visit. Apparently, a Rwandan jail official “yelled” at jail employees who granted attorneys access on Saturday.

It seems that official could not be reached Saturday, Sarah Erlinder said, and could not block the visit. However, she said, the jail official was reachable Sunday — and not very happy.

Sarah Erlinder said the attorneys who visited her father — one American and one Rwandan — reported that he appeared to be in good health and in good spirits. That was a relief, she said, “because then we could concentrate on the larger issue of getting him out.”

It is not clear if access to her father will continue to be blocked, she said.

Alison Turner, a board member of the International Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, said Sunday that Erlinder may get his first hearing on Monday.

Erlinder, 62, is in Rwanda to help defend presidential hopeful Victoire Ingabire against charges of promoting genocidal ideology. He was arrested by the Rwandan police Friday. Ingabire is running against Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the Aug 9 elections. More than 500,000 people died during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.


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