Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In an update to previous posts, human rights lawyer and law professor Peter Erlinder is back in the United States after spending 21 days in a Rwandan jail on charges of denying the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Mr. Erlinder denies the charges, claiming only to have been preparing a defense for presidential opposition candidate Umuhoza. Mr. Erlinder was released on bail due to medical issues. He has now returned to St. Paul Minnesota where he teaches at the William Mitchell College of Law.
In an interview upon his return to the United States, Mr. Erlinder stated his belief that his insistence on contacting the U.S. embassy during a search of his hotel room prevented his "disappearance" and led to his official arrest instead. Whether or not he is correct, his statement does lend support to the importance of consular notification rights for all foreigners arrested or detained abroad and the need for law enforcement officials in the United States to do a better job of honoring those rights so that Americans may continue to avail themselves of consular notification rights when traveling outside the country.