On Monday, June 7, 90 law school deans from across the United States sent letters calling for the release of Professor Peter Erlinder to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda W. Stuart Symington, and Rwandan Ambassador to the United States James Kimonyo.
The letter to Ambassador Kimonyo follows.
June 7, 2010
Ambassador of Rwanda
1714 New Hampshire NW
Washington, DC 20009
Dear Ambassador Kimonyo
We are deans of American law schools. As legal educators, we believe we have an obligation to nurture in our students the core values of the legal profession. These core values are threatened by the arrest in Rwanda of William Mitchell College of Law Professor Peter Erlinder. We are writing to respectfully request your assistance in ensuring his safety and release.
The U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers state that lawyers “shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions” and that “governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.” These principles also provide that “lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly.”
As you know, Prof. Erlinder was in Kigali to pursue a legal defense for Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. We believe that he has been arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned unjustly and for simply doing the work of the lawyer: advocating on behalf of his client.
Ambassador Kimonyo, we respectfully urge the government of Rwanda to abide by these principles, to refrain from harassment of lawyers practicing law consistent with their professional obligations, and to release Prof. Erlinder forthwith.
Very truly yours,
(Affiliations are listed for identification only and do not represent institutional endorsement. )
R. Alexander Acosta, Florida International University
William E. Adams, Jr., Western State University College of Law
John B. Attanasio, Dedman School of Law Southern Methodist University
Martin H. Belsky, University of Akron School of Law
Paul Schiff Berman, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University.
Douglas Blaze, University of Tennessee College of Law
Jeff Brand, University of San Francisco School of Law
David A. Brennen, University of Kentucky College of Law
Shelley Broderick, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
Doris DelTosto Brogan, Villanova University School of Law
Penelope Bryan, Whittier Law School
Judge John L. Carroll, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
James Ming Chen, University of Louisville
Annette E. Clark, Seattle University School of Law
Jay Conison, Valparaiso University School of Law
John Corkery, The John Marshall Law School
George Critchlow, Gonzaga University School of Law
Mary A. Crossley, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Marianne B. Culhane, Creighton Univ. School of Law
Kenneth B. Davis, Jr., University of Wisconsin Law School
Samuel M. Davis, University of Mississippi School of Law
Nora V. Demleitner, Hofstra University School of Law
R. Lawrence Dessem, University of Missouri School of Law
Matthew Diller, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
John M. A. DiPippa, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Allen Easley, University of LaVerne College of Law
JoAnne A. Epps, Temple University Beasley School of Law
John J. Farmer, Jr., Rutgers School of Law | Newark
Daisy H. Floyd, Mercer University School of Law
Alfredo Garcia, St. Thomas University School of Law
Bryant G. Garth, Southwestern Law School
Arthur R. Gaudio, Western New England College School of Law
Victor J. Gold, Loyola Law School
Peter Goplerud, Florida Coastal School of Law
Ken Gormley, Duquesne University School of Law
Stephen M. Griffin, Tulane Law School
Claudio Grossman, American University, Washington College of Law
Donald J. Guter, South Texas College of Law
Jack A. Guttenberg, Capital University Law School
Phoebe A. Haddon, University of Maryland School of Law
Lawrence K. Hellman, Oklahoma City University
Dennis R. Honabach, Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University
Scott W. Howe, Chapman University School of Law
Eric S. Janus, William Mitchell College of Law
Robert H. Jerry, II, Levin College of Law, University of Florida
George R. Johnson, Jr., Elon University School of Law
Bernard V. Keenan, Suffolk University Law School
Robert Klonoff, Lewis & Clark Law School
Don LeDuc, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Donald M. Lewis, Hamline University School of Law
David A. Logan, Roger Williams University School of Law
Richard A. Matasar, New York Law School
Philip J. McConnaughay, Penn State The Dickinson School of Law
Joyce E. McConnell, West Virginia University College of Law
Thomas M. Mengler, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Veryl Miles, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
Blake D. Morant, Wake Forest University School of Law
Charles I. Nelson, Faulkner University, Jones School of Law
John O’Brien, New England Law | Boston
Maureen A. O’Rourke, Boston University School of Law
Jeremy Paul, University of Connecticut School of Law
Raymond C. Pierce, North Carolina Central University School of Law
Freddie Pitcher, Jr., Southern University Law Center
Peter Pitegoff, University of Maine School of Law
Lawrence Raful, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
Drucilla S. Ramey, Golden Gate University, School of Law
Robert H. Rawson, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Douglas E Ray, University of Toledo College of Law
Richard L. Revesz, New York University School of Law
Jim Rosenblatt, Mississippi College School of Law
Irma Russell, University of Montana School of Law
Lawrence Sager, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
Brad Saxton, Quinnipiac University School of Law
Kurt L. Schmoke, Howard University School of Law
Lloyd Semple, University of Detroit Mercy School of law
Michelle S. Simon, Pace Law School
Steven R. Smith, California Western School of Law | San Diego
Rodney A. Smolla, Washington and Lee University School of Law
Rayman L. Solomon, Rutgers University School of Law – Camden
Mathew D. Staver, Liberty University School of Law
Athornia Steele, Nova Southeastern University
Dennis Stone, Charlotte School of Law
Ellen Y. Suni, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
Kellye Y. Testy, University of Washington School of Law
William M. Treanor, Fordham Law School
Kevin Washburn, University of New Mexico School of Law
John Valery White, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Patricia D. White, University of Miami School of Law
Rebecca H. White, University of Georgia, School of Law
David Yellen, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
OTHER REACTIONS AGAINST THE ILLEGAL ARREST OF PETER ERLINDER.
As many of you know, the American lawyer, Peter Erlinder has been unjustly imprisoned in Rwanda. Professor Erlinder, a faculty member at William Mitchell College of Law in the United States and president of the Association des Avocats de la Defense (ADAD), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Defense Lawyers Association, was arrested by the government of Rwanda under the leadership of president Paul Kagame.
Erlinder has been arrested in the course of his representation of Rwanda’s opposition leader and presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire. A Rwandan court has now ruled that Peter must remain in jail without bail.
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=2VC6nykcF0M
http://www.newtimes .co.rw/index. php?issue= 14285&s at IPS for article=30023
A Rwandan judge has refused bail for the American attorney Peter Erlinder despite pressure from the US government. Erlinder is a lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. The Minnesota-based attorney was arrested shortly after arriving in Rwanda last month to help with the legal defense of opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire, who has been accused of promoting genocidal ideology. The Rwandan government has been accused of using laws barring genocide denial to silence opposition critics. Rwandan judge Maurice Mbishibishi announced the decision.
Judge Maurice Mbishibishi: "The court has found that what Peter Erlinder is accused of is serious and true. The accusations include genocide denial and the spread of documents which can threaten the security of Rwanda, so we decided that Peter Erlinder will remain in prison for thirty days while the judiciary continues with the investigations. "
On Monday, opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire voiced support for Peter Erlinder.
Victoire Ingabire: "There is no justice in Rwanda. There is no democracy in Rwanda. People are not free to say what they think, because if there are freedom, Peter would not be in jail because he said that they are killing in Rwanda. if the government of Kagame have a problem with what he said, they have to accept the debate. We have to talk about what happened in Rwanda in 1994."
Protests planned to call for freedom of professor
Associated Press - June 8, 2010 6:14 AM ET
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Protests are planned in New York and Minneapolis on Tuesday to call for the freedom of Peter Erlinder, a Minnesota law professor jailed in Rwanda.
Erlinder, who teaches at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, is charged with denying Rwanda's 1994 genocide. He doesn't deny mass violence happened but says it's wrong to blame just one side.
The New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild plans to protest outside the Rwandan consulate from noon to 1 p.m. EDT. Erlinder is a former national president of the group.
His supporters also plan to gather outside the federal courthouse in Minneapolis at 5 p.m CDT.
Erlinder's family is not involved with the protests. His brother, Scott Erlinder, says they appreciate the support but don't want to make the situation worse.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.