Arusha, January 12, 2012 (FH) - The UN's Committee against Torture on Wednesday asked Canada to suspend its expulsion to Rwanda of Léon Mugesera, whom Kigali accuses of inciting genocide, reports French news agency AFP. 

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The Geneva-based committee was responding to a request from Mugesera's lawyer, who asked it to examine the risks of him being tortured in Rwanda. The Committee said it had asked Canada not to send Mugesera to Rwanda while it was still examining the request.

The Rwandan academic is on Kigali's list of most wanted genocide suspects. Rwanda accuses him notably of inciting genocide with an infamous 1992 speech calling for people to "send the Tutsis back home to Ethiopia".

Mugesera, who has been living with his family in Canada since 1993, has been fighting extradition for 15 years. However, on Wednesday morning the federal court rejected his last-ditch appeal. Following that decision, Mugesera was taken to hospital by ambulance, apparently unconscious.

If the Canadian government meets the request of the UN committee, the 59-year-old Mugesera could get a respite of a few months.

However, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Ministry said on Thursday in an email to Canadian daily The Gazette that Mugesera would be extradited "as soon as possible" and that "war criminals will find no haven on our shores".

Mugesera's lawyer Johanne Doyon said in an interview with Radio Canada that a refusal to meet the request would go against Canada's international commitments.


© Hirondelle News Agency