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Professor says Rwanda wanted him to disappear

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Minnesota law professor said Wednesday he believes Rwandan authorities intended to make him disappear and never planned to prosecute him on allegations that he minimized the country’s 1994 genocide.

Peter Erlinder, a professor at the William Mitchell College of Law, said he believes no one would have learned of his fate if he hadn’t been able to summon a U.S. embassy official to his hotel when he was arrested May 28. He said nobody at the embassy knew he was still in Rwanda because airline records somehow had been altered to show he had left the morning before.

He said he owes his life to thousands of people around the world who demanded his release after word got out. He returned home Tuesday after about three weeks in custody.

Erlinder, who had gone to Rwanda to help defend an opposition presidential candidate, ran afoul of authorities because he disputes the official version of what happened in 1994. He has not been formally charged and was released on medical grounds late last week. Rwandan authorities said their investigation would continue.


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