February 06, 2009

Deportation Proceedings Begin Against Goucher Teacher from Rwanda

Academic Denies Genocide Allegations
U.S. immigration authorities have begun deportation proceedings against a Rwandan academic who was suspended by Goucher College amid allegations that he had participated in the African country's 1994 genocide.

Leopold Munyakazi, 59, was arrested Tuesday afternoon at his home in Towson. Immigration officials said only that he was "in the country illegally," though he had arrived with a valid visa, said Brandon A. Montgomery, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Munyakazi was released on condition he wear a monitoring device and remain at home, Montgomery said, adding that "removal proceedings" have begun. An immigration judge will determine whether to deport him. Munyakazi said yesterday that his hearing would be held in April. He has denied the genocide allegations.

Goucher revealed Saturday that it had suspended him from teaching French this semester.


Goucher President Sanford J. Ungar took the action after learning Munyakazi stands accused of inciting violence in the genocide that killed 800,000 people in Rwanda.

Munyakazi said he entered the United States in 2004 and applied for asylum, adding that he believed his application was pending. Munyakazi's wife, Catherine Mukantabana, said she and their three children - ages 6, 14 and 20 - also have sought asylum.

Goucher believed Munyakazi's asylum request "was moving forward and wasn't considered any kind of obstacle" to offering him a visiting professorship, said spokeswoman Kristen Keener. Also, she said he held an ICE-issued "employment authorization card."

Baltimore Sun reporter Tricia Bishop contributed to this article.

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