OTTAWA — A Rwandan accused of helping to incite the 1994 genocide was denied bail Monday while Canada considered a request to stay his deportation so the UN can probe a claim that he faces persecution at home.
Leon Mugesera — who made an infamous speech in 1992 that is alleged to have played a major role in inciting the 1994 genocide in which radical ethnic Hutus killed as many as 800,000 Tutsis — was scheduled to be deported last Thursday.
But eleventh-hour appeals to two Canadian courts and the UN Committee Against Torture earned him a reprieve until January 20.
An immigration tribunal on Monday denied his request to be released from custody while Ottawa considers the UN’s request to delay his extradition for six months, saying he posed a “flight risk”.
The tribunal noted that Mugesera had fallen mysteriously ill last week, requiring hospitalization for three days, without explaining his condition. Canadian media said Mugesera may have overdosed on pills to avoid deportation.
In his 1992 speech, Mugesera allegedly called Tutsis “cockroaches” and “scum,” encouraging his fellow Hutus to kill them.
He fled to Canada the following year to avoid prosecution, and has waged a 15-year legal battle to avoid being sent back.