Page last updated at 06:10 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Teacher in US accused of genocide

Leopold Munyakazi, 2 February 2009
Leopold Munyakazi had been teaching near Baltimore since last year

A college near the US city of Baltimore has suspended a Rwandan professor over accusations he participated in the African country's genocide.

Leopold Munyakazi had been working at Goucher College near Baltimore under a programme for academics whose lives are threatened at home.

He has denied any involvement in Rwanda's genocide.

Some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by Hutu militias in just 100 days in 1994.

Mr Munyakazi, a Hutu, told the Associated Press news agency that he had been persecuted by Rwanda's government.

He said he had been held without trial in Rwanda from 1994 to 1999 on accusations of genocide.

"I'm not hiding; I was never involved in genocide," he said.

Sanford Ungar, president of Goucher College, said in a letter to students and faculty that he became aware of charges against Mr Munyakazi when a journalist and a Rwandan prosecutor came to the college in December.

They told him of witnesses testimonies that Mr Munyakazi, 59, had "participated directly" in the genocide.

Charges had been prepared in 2006 after Mr Munyakazi had given a "controversial talk" in the US questioning the Rwandan government's version of the genocide, Mr Ungar said.

"Dr Munyakazi vehemently denies any involvement in committing genocide, and in fact has presented evidence that he assisted numerous Tutsis in fleeing Hutu killers," the letter said.

Mr Ungar said the Rwandan, who started teaching French at the college in September, would be suspended from his job pending further investigation.

An official at Rwanda's embassy in Washington said Rwanda had asked for Mr Munyakazi and five others to be returned to the country.

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