LONDON (AP) — A Rwandan military general who heads the country’s intelligence service refused to be extradited to Spain at a hearing Thursday in a London court, setting the stage for a prolonged legal fight.
Emmanuel Karenzi Karake is accused by Spain of war crimes. He was arrested at London Heathrow Airport Saturday by British police acting on a European warrant.
Judge Quentin Purdy said a full extradition hearing would be held on Oct. 29th and 30th. The extradition battle may take months.
The 54-year-old general, wearing a green-and-yellow prison jumpsuit, drew cheers from some in the Westminster Magistrates Court when he raised his clasped hands above his head upon arriving Thursday.
Karake is a close ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. He was one of 40 members of the Rwandan military indicted in 2008 on charges of terrorism and genocide by Spanish national Court Judge Fernando Andreu.
Rwandan officials have criticized the arrest as unjust and political.
Andrew Mitchell, a former UK international development secretary, agreed, calling the arrest an abuse of the European arrest warrant system that is being used for political purposes by supporters of Rwanda’s former regime.