Peter Erlinder hospitalized after Rwandan interrogation
The Rwandan News Service reports that William Mitchell law professor Peter Erlinder was hospitalized on Monday evening following hours of intense questioning by Rwandan detectives.
RNS says there are suspicions he may be poisoned, but an American lawyer in Rwanda working for his release told news outlets Erlinder's high blood pressure may have been exacerbated by the interrogation.
Erlinder was arrested on Friday after entering the country to defend Victoire Ingabire, who is accused of having ties to a UN-listed terrorist group that advocates the resumption of the Rwandan genocide that was brought to an end in 1994.
Roughly 800,000 people died in the genocide.
"Mr. Erlinder's unapologetic violation of these laws is self-evident. He has continually engaged in conspiracy theories and denial surrounding the circumstances of the genocide," Rwanda's public prosecutor said in an official statement over the weekend. "He has promulgated this dangerous and distorted fiction over many years. Entering Rwanda was a brazen act of provocation, since Erlinder must clearly understand he is in breach of the laws of our country."
Erlinder flew to Rwanda on May 27 and was arrested the following day under the country's genocide ideology laws the following day.
MPR's Laura Yuen spoke to an American attorney in Rwanda working for Erlinder's release.
Kurt Kerns said two defense attorneys from Kenya demanded the medical intervention on Erlinder's behalf.
"They're like, 'We're done with this interrogation. He doesn't look good. His blood pressure is high. We want him taken to a local hospital.' The local authorities complied," Kerns said.
Erlinder's wife, Masako Usui, told Yuen her husband doesn't deny the genocide; his argument is with the government's explanation of its origins.
Kerns told Yuen the case against Erlinder was "pathetic."
Erlinder's daughter, Sarah Erlinder, an Arizona lawyer, expressed frustration to the Star Tribune about the pace of State Department efforts to win her father's release. Officials from the U.S Embassy in Kigali were allowed to meet with Erlinder over the weekend, but their hands are tied while the local legal process works itself out.
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