Asylum Request Stuns Kin of Victims; Rwandans Faced Murder Charges
Byline: Jim McElhatton, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Deanne Haubner is facing an unforeseen turn of events in which the three Rwandan rebels charged with torturing and killing her brother and his wife during the couple's African safari vacation in 1999 now are seeking safe haven in the United States.
"If someone were to say that the terrorists responsible for the attacks on the Twin Towers could be arrested and never face justice because their confessions were supposedly coerced, nobody would stand for it," Miss Haubner said. "This is no different. These guys were terrorists before terrorism became fashionable."
Since 2003, the three Rwandans accused of killing Oregon residents Robert Haubner and his wife, Susan Miller, in a Uganda national park in 1999 have been locked up in the D.C. Jail awaiting their federal death-penalty trial.
The attack on the couple and six other tourists aimed to erode U.S. support for the Rwandan government, officials said. Some of the victims were hacked to death with axes and machetes.
Nearly four years after announcing the arrests, federal prosecutors earlier this month sought to drop felony murder and kidnapping charges against Francois Karake, Leonidas Bimenyimana and Gregoire Nyaminani.
Authorities said they cannot prosecute the men after a judge ruled the confessions inadmissible. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled last year that the men were tortured by captors in Rwanda and coerced into admitting to the killings.
Miss Haubner said the family was surprised that the defendants recently sought asylum in the United States.
"My understanding was that if charges were dismissed, then they would be sent out of the country," she said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, declined to comment, saying government officials are not permitted to discuss specifics on pending asylum cases.
However, spokesman Chris Bentley explained there is generally no deadline for deciding such matters. …