Kigali, January 24, 2012 (FH) - Former politician Léon Mugesera arrived at Kigali international airport at 11.30 pm on Tuesday after being deported from Canada on a special flight.

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Hand-cuffed, wearing a suit and a coat, looking healthy, Mugesera was immediately taken away in a police car.

The Rwandan citizen just lost a long battle to stay in Canada. He has been fighting deportation for 16 years with a series of appeals, even after the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the order in 2005.

Last week, Mugesera's lawyers had asked for extra time for the UN Committee Against Torture to investigate whether he would be at risk of persecution if sent back to Rwanda. But the Quebec Superior Court dismissed his final appeal on Monday.

He will now face charges of inciting murder, extermination and genocide for an incendiary anti-Tutsi speech he gave in 1992.

"Reaction here in Rwanda is very positive. The victims of Mugesera's speech are finally going to get justice," Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told Hirondelle News agency on the phone.

"It's unfortunate that the extradition took so long, but it's still good news. It sends an important signal to all those who are being sought by Rwanda for their role in the genocide," she said.

"For us Rwandans it is also the culmination of the progress made in the sector of the judiciary since the end of the genocide," she went on.

"It is exciting that this chapter is finally closed, after 16 years of all sorts of abuse of process. The task ahead is one for which we are well prepared - a fair and transparent trial," Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said.

"The new era is unfolding and sooner than later, Rwandans will witness what they have longed for - to see trials taking place where genocide was committed," he said.

© Hirondelle News Agency