In a dramatic twist of events that caught almost everyone by surprise, Leo Mugesera is still in Canada.
Although the judge has ruled that he be deported, there is a slight chance that this may not actually happen.
Mugesera's lawyer successful applied for a last minute reprieve over growing concerns that the Rwandan government uses torture against opponents. The drama continues to unfold.
Canada is justified in taking a hardline position against suspected war criminals. 17 years after the 1994 genocide, it is necessary that those who took part in the carnage are held responsible. However, this must happen in an environment that is free and fair. Unfortunately, Paul Kagame's Rwanda is not.
Those who oppose Mugesera's extradition to Rwanda are not necessarily fellow genocidaires. In fact, a number of Tutsi voices have emerged against the extradition. The reasoning is simple for those who bother to understand: we cannot correct a wrong by committing another one.
There is overwhelming evidence that Rwanda uses and encourages torture against its opponents. One dramatic example, in 2008 the US was unable to prosecute FDLR members, extradited to face trial in the murder of American tourists in Bwindi.
The US Federal court ruled that the three suspects had been subjected to torture, and the case was immediately dismissed. The sadistic forms of torture favored by the Rwandan government are elaborately described. For more about this case, click here.
Recent crackdowns against members of the opposition have shown that Rwanda is yet to discard torture. This became apparent following the incarceration of PS Imberakuri leader, Bernard Ntaganda.
It is claimed that Ntaganda is kept in dark and solitary room, where ferocious dogs are repeatedly made to bark at him. His poor medical condition is ignored. At his last court appearance, he had grown so weak that he fainted in court.
The same can be said for genocide survivor and political activist Deo Mushayidi. He is imprisoned at an undisclosed location and is not allowed visitors. Opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire is kept in a dark room, without windows.
Of course, this are only but the most prominent of the cases. But the harassment of prisoners in Rwanda is no secret. I have more personal examples to back up my claims, if anyone is interested.
Lastly, it seems that Rwanda has launched a full-blow media campaign to dissuade the U.N agency in charge of torture from arguing in Mugesera's favor. This was made clear by Rwanda's media adviser, an New Zealander known as Phil Quin.
On his Twitter he arrogantly stated: "The UN Committee Against Torture email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org, phone +41 22 917 97 06. Let's blitz 'em". Should we not be concerned by such militaristic language?
I believe Canada should be. Canada is a pillar of democratic freedom and should not deport an individual to a country that still uses torture. Moreover, it is not too late to try Mugesera in Canada.