KIGALI — Rwandan police said on Friday they arrested Peter Erlinder, a US lawyer who is part of the defence team of opposition figure Victoire Ingabire, for denying the 1994 Tutsi genocide.
"He was arrested this morning. He is currently in the hands of the criminal investigation department," police spokesman Eric Kayiranga said.
"He will be brought before a judge within the legal time limit," of 72 hours he said, adding that the US jurist is accused of "denying the Tutsi genocide".
Erlinder, who heads the association of defence lawyers at the UN Rwanda tribunal in Arusha, arrived in Rwanda on Sunday to take part in the defence of Ingabire, who is herself accused of denying the genocide, collaborating with a terrorist organisation and inciting ethnic hatred.
"He's someone who denies the genocide in his writings and his speeches. Worse than that he has become an organiser of genocide deniers," Rwanda's Public Prosecutor Martin Ngoga told AFP.
"If negating (the Tutsi genocide) is not punished in his country, it is punished in Rwanda. And when he came here he knew that," Ngoga said.
On Tuesday, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said he had asked Rwandan authorities "to treat Victoire Ingabire in accordance with international law, ensure due process, and give her a speedy, fair, and transparent trial."
Carson also accused Kigali of restricting freedoms ahead of the August 9 presidential poll.
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