Lawyer May Be Released from Rwandan Prison

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Lawyer May Be Released from Rwandan Prison

Updated: Sunday, 06 Jun 2010, 10:07 PM CDT
Published : Sunday, 06 Jun 2010, 10:07 PM CDT

Jeff Goldberg / FOX 9 News

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Peter Erlinder has been in a Rwandan prison for nearly two weeks, but he may be released Monday when he goes before a judge for a bail hearing.

Erlinder walked into a Rwandan court room Friday to plead his case. Erlinder, who told the court he has not spoken to family or friends since being detained, was in Rwanda defending alleged leaders of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. But Friday, the judge charged Erlinder with denying genocide, and for publishing articles threatening the country's security.

Scott Erlinder is Peter’s brother. He is a professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Erlinder and everyone else have put life on hold to get his brother home. They took a trip to Washington last week, urging members of congress, the state department, and anyone else who would listen to help in the effort.

Erlinder, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, has a history of taking on unpopular causes.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison. Erlinder was upset when the judge said he will decide on Monday whether to grant bail.

The genocide claimed the lives of more than 500,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The massacres ended when mostly Tutsi rebels led by President Paul Kagame defeated the mostly Hutu extremist perpetrators.

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