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Law Prof Says He’ll No Doubt Be Killed If He Returns to Rwanda

Posted Oct 25, 2010 9:29 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Minnesota law professor facing charges of genocide denial for his work representing a Rwandan presidential candidate says he has “no doubt” he’ll be killed if he returns to the country.

William Mitchell law professor Peter Erlinder said he would follow his lawyer’s advice in the case, the Associated Press reports. But when asked if he would be killed if he returned to Rwanda, Erlinder answered, “I have no doubt.”

Erlinder spent more than a month in a Rwandan jail after he was arrested this spring. He was released on bail and allowed to return to the United States, but Rwanda’s top prosecutor now wants Erlinder to appear and face charges of genocide denial.

Erlinder represented opposition leader Victoire Ingabire before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on a charge of promoting genocidal ideology. Ingabire has since been arrested and charged with being involved in the formation of a terrorist organization.

Erlinder was jailed in May after he was accused of violating Rwanda’s law that prohibits anyone from denying or minimizing the genocide that took place in the country in 1994, when hundreds of thousands of people were killed, mostly ethnic Tutsis. Erlinder told AP his statements about genocide were the conclusions of researchers, not his own opinions, and were made in the course of his representation.

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