HRRF Calls Upon the International Community to Intervene
The Rwanda News Agency reported on May 28 that American law professor C. Peter Erlinder (William and Mitchell College of Law - Minnesota) was arrested over accusations related to negating the Rwandan genocide. The Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation deplores this clearly politically motivated arrest, and implores the international community to act quickly and decisively to demand Professor Erlinder's immediate release from custody.
Erlinder, an outspoken critic of the Kagame regime, is frequently criticized by the Rwandan government. His name recently appeared on a publicized list of foreigners who the Rwandan government allegedly wants silenced for their views. Erlinder traveled to Rwanda last week to defend presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire on the charges brought against her by the Rwandan government. Mrs. Ingabire, a political opponent of current President Kagame, was jailed recently and is currently under house arrest for expressing her political views, which are in opposition to official government policies. Erlinder is also a defense lawyer and leader of the association of defense attorneys defending Rwandan genocide suspects at the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. His current trip to Rwanda was intended to provide defense counsel in a peaceful legal process, but with this arrest his human rights, liberty and possibly his person safety are in danger.
Professor Erlinder was reportedly arrested on charges of "genocide negationism," which means that he disagrees with the official version of the 1994 genocide perpetuated by the current Rwandan regime. This law is frequently applied to silence critics of the regime, including in the past Mrs. Ingabire, Human Rights Watch investigators, and even the BBC.
Immediate action is needed to free Professor Erlinder and guarantee his human rights and personal safety. Educators can show their support by contacting the US and Rwandan governments.
Call the White House:202-456-1414
Call Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Secy of State Hillary Clinton (202) 647-9572 State Dept: Fax 202 647 0244
State Department Main Switchboard 202-647-4000 TTY:1-800-877-8339
(Federal Relay Service)
Senator Al Franken: (202) 224-5641 Email http://franken.senate.gov/
Senator Amy Klobuchar: 202-224-3244 Fax: 202-228-2186 Email at http://klobuchar.senate.go
Representative Keith Ellison: 202-225-4755 Email at http://forms.house.gov/ell
Representative Betty McCullom: (202) 225-6631 Fax: (202) 225-1968 Email
Bureau of African affairs 202-647-4440 Fax: 202-647-6301
Johnnie Carson,Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Phone: 202-647-2530 Fax: 202-647-0838
Rwanda embassy (NY): Telephone: +1 212 679 9010 or 1 212 679 9023 Fax:
+1 212 679 9133
Stephen J. Rapp war crimes ambassador Phone: 202-647-6051 Fax:
Susan Rice, US AMB to the UN Accredited Journalists: 212-415-4050
Opinion & Comment line: 212-415-4062 Fax: 212-415-4053
Rwanda Mission to the UN in USA: phone: +1 212 679 9010 or 1 212 679
9023 Fax: +1 212 679 9133
Rwandan Amb. James Kimonyo 1714 New Hampshire NW Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 202-232-2882 Fax: 202-232-4544