Rwanda deports Belgian lawyer over abuse of visitation visa

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The Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration said late Saturday that it had deported a Belgian lawyer, who without accreditation, sought to offer legal services to Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed as a humanitarian activist in the controversial Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda.”

Vincent Lurquin Ferdinand, was “declared a prohibited immigrant” in Rwanda and deported for abusing his visitation visa on which he entered the country, the Director General of the Rwanda’s Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration Regis Gatarayiha told reporters in the capital city Kigali.

Lurquin’s deportation came a day after he appeared Friday before Rwanda’s High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes which is trying Rusesabagina, who faces charges including terrorism, financing terrorism and forming armed groups.

The court had set Aug. 20 to announce its verdict against Rusesabagina, but postponed it until Sep.20.

Lurquin entered the country on Aug. 16 on a visitation visa with 30-day validity.

Upon his appearance in court, the Rwanda Bar Association complained that he was not accredited to practice in Rwanda.

“He was granted a V1 type of visa, which allows the bearer to visit the country but not conduct any remunerated work. We were surprised to see him in court during one of the hearings dressed in a lawyer’s robe that showed that he was practicing as an advocate, yet without accreditation,” Gatarayiha, the immigration official said.

“For him to be able to do that, he was supposed to get clearance from the Rwanda Bar Association and then get a work permit from Immigration,” he added. Enditem

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