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Widow of Rwanda’s assassinated president arrested in France

By Christopher Szabo     Mar 3, 2010 in World
French police have arrested the widow of the Rwandan president whose aircraft was shot down in 1994, an event which sparked the Rwandan genocide of the same year. Juvenal Habyarimana’s widow, Agathe, is implicated in the genocide.
The New York Times says Agathe Habyarimana has lived in France since the tragic events of 1994, but has been refused political asylum. She applied in 2004 and was turned down, as was her appeal last October. French investigating judges were of the opinion that she was a central figure in the majority Hutu government that orchestrated the genocide.
Habyarimana was evacuated from Rwanda by French troops as the genocide began. She briefly stayed in Gabon, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kenya before settling in France in 1998.
The Rwandan goverenment of Paul Kagame has requested her extradition, but France has refused to hand over suspects because it fears they would not receive a fair trial.
Meanwhile, AFP reported that Habyarimana’s arrest was politically linked to President Nicholas Sarkozy’s visit to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, last week. Her lawyer, Philippe Meilhac said:
You can't not draw a link. The extradition request from Kigali dates back to November and was obviously re-activated.
Meilhac said his client would fight extradition, adding:
If she must be heard, she asks that it be in a French or international court. She considers that Rwandan criminal courts are not sufficiently independent or impartial.
France’s State Prosecutor told AFP that Agathe Habyarimana had been released on bail, the Australian news website SMH said.
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