Spain prosecutors want London to extradite Rwanda spy chief

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Prosecutors in Spain on Tuesday called for Britain to extradite the head of Rwanda’s intelligence service to Madrid, a judicial source said, after he was arrested in London over allegations dating back to the country’s conflict in the 1990s.

British police detained 54-year-old general Karenzi Karake at Heathrow airport on Saturday on a Spanish arrest warrant that was issued as part of an investigation into alleged crimes during the Rwanda conflict.

At the National Court, prosecutors asked a judge “to request the authorities in London to hand him over” to Spain to face terrorism charges, the judicial source told AFP.

The court could not say when a judge was likely to rule on the request. British police said Karake was due to appear in court in London on Thursday.

Spain’s National Court launched an investigation in 2008 into allegations of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and terrorism in Rwanda in the 1990s.

The court’s listing of Karake followed an investigation into the murder of nine Spaniards who were working with refugees in Rwanda between 1994 and 2000.

It later shelved the first three sets of charges but “the case is still active for the crimes of terrorism” in the case of nine Spanish people killed in Rwanda, the source told AFP.

Karake is part of a circle of top military officers in the former Rwandan Patriotic Front rebel movement.

That force ended the 1994 genocide by Hutu extremists which left an estimated 800,000 people dead, mostly Tutsis. Atrocities were also committed against Hutus.

The Rwandan government has condemned the detention of Karake, who has been President Paul Kagame’s spy chief since 2011, branding it an “outrage.”