A Rwandan judge has refused bail for the American attorney Peter Erlinder despite pressure from the US government. Erlinder is a lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. The Minnesota-based attorney was arrested shortly after arriving in Rwanda last month to help with the legal defense of opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire, who has been accused of promoting genocidal ideology. The Rwandan government has been accused of using laws barring genocide denial to silence opposition critics. Rwandan judge Maurice Mbishibishi announced the decision.
Judge Maurice Mbishibishi: “The court has found that what Peter Erlinder is accused of is serious and true. The accusations include genocide denial and the spread of documents which can threaten the security of Rwanda, so we decided that Peter Erlinder will remain in prison for thirty days while the judiciary continues with the investigations.”
On Monday, opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire voiced support for Peter Erlinder.
Victoire Ingabire: “There is no justice in Rwanda. There is no democracy in Rwanda. People are not free to say what they think, because if there are freedom, Peter would not be in jail because he said that they are killing in Rwanda. if the government of Kagame have a problem with what he said, they have to accept the debate. We have to talk about what happened in Rwanda in 1994.”