Friday, May 28, 2010
Forgive me -- I know this does not relate to property law, but I hope you'll agree it's worth the space here under the circumstances.
William Mitchell College of Law Professor Peter Erlinder, my colleague, is passionately devoted to the protections of due process. He has devoted his professional life to representing, pro bono, targets of government prosecution, including the least admirable criminal defendants -- the ones no one else will represent. Without lawyers willing to do that, of course, there can be no due process. He is currently the lead defense counsel for several Rwandan genocide suspects being tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
He was arrested in Rwanda today -- apparently on charges of "genocide ideology," by which is apparently meant that he has denied the Rwandan genocide. Of course, when a zealous advocate represents defendants accused of genocide, he might be expected to deny that what occurred was genocide. He had entered the country to help defend a current candidate for President in the country's upcoming elections, who had also been arrested for "genocide ideology." The Rwandan government has also recently barred Human Rights Watch from the country, closed independent newspapers and arrested opposition supporters.
It is precisely because we so revile defendants accused of such horrific acts that the work of advocates like Peter Erlinder is so necessary. Please consider contacting your representatives, asking them to pressure the Rwandan government to release Peter.
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