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Rwandan Professor Arrested in Visa Offense

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Leopold Munyakazi taught French at Goucher College until the school learned he was wanted in Rwanda and suspended him with pay. Munyakazi says he has evidence that proves he wasn't involved in the 1994 killings in his native country. Video by AP

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By Elissa Silverman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 6, 2009

A Goucher College professor accused of genocide in his native Rwanda has been arrested on suspicion of being in the United States illegally, U.S. immigration authorities said yesterday.

Leopold Munyakazi, who taught French at the college north of Baltimore, was arrested Tuesday at his home for overstaying his visa, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Brandon A. Montgomery. He was later released from custody with a monitoring device and is awaiting a deportation hearing, Montgomery said.

Goucher removed Munyakazi from his teaching duties several weeks after learning of accusations by the Rwandan government that he participated in the 1994 genocide in the Central African nation. In a Jan. 31 campuswide e-mail, Goucher President Sanford J. Ungar said he had heard about the accusations from an NBC news producer working on a series about international war criminals living in the United States. Ungar said the producer was accompanied by a Rwandan prosecutor who shared with him a detailed indictment calling for Munyakazi's arrest, but he said the college's action didn't reflect "a judgment about Dr. Munyakazi or about the charges that have been made." The college is investigating the claims.

Munyakazi has denied involvement in the genocide.

In 1994, more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in Rwanda in highly organized violence that included the systematic rape of Tutsi women.

Reached by telephone last night, Munyakazi said his lawyer advised him not to speak about his case.

Munyakazi was to teach at Goucher under a program that provides fellowships for academics who are threatened in their home countries.


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