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US professor Peter Erlinder seeks bail for Rwanda genocide denial charges

Peter Erlinder was arrested last month as he was preparing a case for charges of Rwanda genocide-denial against opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire. The court will decide Thursday afternoon.

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Peter Erlinder, a US law professor at the William Mitchel College of Law in Saint Paul, Minn., who is charged with genocide denial appears at the Gesabo Intermediate Court outside Kigali, Rwanda, on June 7, awaiting the court's verdict on his appeal for bail. Erlinder has been representing controversial Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire, who is also accused by the government of Paul Kagame of revisionism concerning the Rwandan genocide during the early nineties.

AP Photo/Marc Hofer

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An American lawyer, Peter Erlinder, arrested on charges of denying and minimizing the Rwandan genocide of 1994, will find out on Thursday whether he will be granted bail in a trial that is expected to signal just how much room there is for political expression and dissent in the country ruled for the past 16 years by President Paul Kagame.

Mr. Erlinder, a law professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn., was arrested in the nation’s capital, Kigali, on May 28, soon after his arrival to prepare a case for charges of genocide-denial against opposition presidential candidate, Victoire Ingabire.

If convicted of the charges against him, Erlinder could face 10 to 20 years in prison. Even before jail time begins Erlinder’s family worry about his health in custody. Erlinder was taken to hospital on Wednesday June 16 for concerns about his blood pressure.

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