Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rwandan Man Facing Deportation Making Last-Ditch Plea to Stay in Canada: Deportation Looms for Rwandan Man in Quebec

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rwandan Man Facing Deportation Making Last-Ditch Plea to Stay in Canada: Deportation Looms for Rwandan Man in Quebec

Article excerpt

MONTREAL - The lawyer for a Rwandan man facing imminent deportation to his native country to face charges of inciting genocide has made a last-ditch legal plea to keep him on Canadian soil.

Leon Mugesera has fought for nearly 16 years to remain in the country -- a fight that took the Rwandan academic all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

It could all come to an end on Thursday when the alleged war criminal is scheduled to be kicked out, six years after the country's highest court upheld an order to expel him.

The Quebec City man is accused of helping to incite Rwanda's genocide by delivering a 1992 speech that promoted the killing of ethnic Tutsis.

A warrant was issued for his arrest but he fled to Canada and quickly gained permanent resident status, subsequently revoked.

Months after he'd left, Hutu-backed militias led the 100-day massacre of Tutsis and Hutu moderates in 1994, killing between 800,000 and one million Rwandans.

Mugesera smiled and hugged supporters as he entered the Federal Court in Montreal. He has lived in Quebec since 1993 and had a hearing room packed with supporters who agree that his life is in danger if he is returned to Rwanda.

Lawyer Johanne Doyon argued Monday on Mugesera's behalf in Federal Court, seeking a judicial review and a delay of Thursday's scheduled expulsion.

Doyon has been on the case since mid-December and called Ottawa's decision rushed and without proper due diligence for Mugesera's safety.

The current Rwandan government under President Paul Kagame views Mugesera as an opponent and even an enemy, Doyon said, and her client could be tortured.

Doyon argued that a refugee claimant like Mugesera should not be deported unless he's been convicted or is a threat to Canada.

"But this is not the case for Leon Mugesera. He has not been convicted. He has not had access to a fair and equitable trial in front of his peers and in front of justice," Doyon said.

She said the Canadian Charter of Rights, as well as international treaties, should protect him from deportation in light of his status as a refugee.

And Doyon said that the Canadian government is wrong to accept diplomatic assurances from the Rwandan government that Mugesera won't be harmed. …

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