Rwanda: Immigration Directorate Deports American Citizen Gregg Schoof

Photo: New Times
Gregg Schoof Brian.

The Rwandan Directorate General for Immigration and Emigration (DGIE) on Monday evening deported an American national, Gregg Schoof Brian, after he was declared "prohibited immigrant".

This follows his arrest Monday morning over disturbing public order, as was confirmed by Rwanda National Police Spokesperson, Commissioner of Police John Bosco Kabera.

The arrest took place in Remera, near Amahoro National Stadium.

This, according to Immigration, was not only in contravention of Rwandan laws, but also violated conditions of Schoof's temporary stay, after his request for renewal of work permit was turned down.

Schoof owned Amazing Grace a radio station whose license was withdrawn by the regulator on recommendation of the media regulatory body, Rwanda Media Commission.

The regulator, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) in April last year withdrew the radio station's license after Schoof failed to comply with sanctions that arose from a controversial sermon that was aired on the station that denigrated women.

The sermon, in which a presenter on the radio and evangelist Nicolas Niyibikora, denigrated women referring to them as evil, was aired on January 29, 2018.

The sermon was condemned by human rights organisations, including several associations that promote women empowerment.

"Gregory Schoof Brian has been deported and sent back to his country as a prohibited immigrant," said Gatarayiha.

According to Gatarayiha, the US national had applied for renewal of his work permit from the Directorate but had been notified of his ineligibility for one.

Gatarayiha said that Schoof had been told the purpose for which he had been given the previous permit was his missionary activities at the church and Amazing Grace Radio, both of which have been closed due to non-compliance with regulations in force in Rwanda.

In May last year, Schoof lost an appeal against the media regulator in a failed bid to reopen his radio station.

His church was closed like many other churches in the country in February last year, after they fell short of minimum standards, including failure to comply with regulations against noise pollution.

"His (work) permit had expired since 06 July 2019. His extended stay had been accorded to him on his request to prepare to leave but his involvement in activities that cause public disorder were not among the allowed preparations to leave the country," Gatarayiha said.

His deportation as a prohibited immigrant is in accordance with the law governing immigration and emigration in the Republic of Rwanda, he added.

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