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Rwanda: lawyer's family dismisses attempted suicide claim

Reuters

The family of US lawyer Peter Erlinder, who has been in jail in Rwanda since 28 May, has denied that he tried to commit suicide in a Kigali prison. Rwandan police claimed that he had tried to commit suicide on Wednesday by swallowing a cocktail of medication.

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Erlinder was taken to hospital for the second time since his detention. He was arrested last week, accused of denying the 1994 genocide. His family has been struggling to bring Erlinder back to the US since his arrest. But they say they are disappointed by the US government, which has not been able to improve his situation.

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“I can’t believe that he has tried to kill himself,” his daughter Sara Erlinder told RFI. “He is being held in terrible conditions in jail.”

She added that he has not been able to call a family or to talk to his lawyer. 

Erlinder was arrested while he was defending opposition figure Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who is also accused of denying the genocide.

The US lawyer frequently accuses the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of covering up crimes committed in 1994 by the Rwandan Patriotic Front of President Paul Kagame.

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