About Professor Erlinder
American law professor C. Peter Erlinder (William Mitchell College of Law — Minnesota) was imprisoned in Rwanda 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.
Prof. 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 whom the Rwandan government allegedly wants silenced for their views. Erlinder traveled to Rwanda last month 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.
Prof. Erlinder is a defense lawyer and leader of the association of defense attorneys at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda 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 personal safety are in danger.
Prof. 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. In the past it has been applied to Mrs. Ingabire, Human Rights Watch investigators, and even the BBC.
About the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagin Foundation
The Chicago-based Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation was founded by Paul Rusesabagina, the real- life hero of the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda. Rusesabagina, portrayed by Don Cheadle in the film, saved the lives of more than 1,200 people during the Rwandan genocide and has been honored internationally for his heroism. The Foundation works to prevent future genocides and to raise awareness of the need for a new truth and reconciliation process in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa.