A controversial US pastor has been deported from Rwanda amid a battle with authorities over the closure of his religious radio station.
A spokesman for Rwanda’s Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration told CNN that Gregg Schoof was deported back to the United States due to “failure to comply with Rwandan laws.”
Schoof emailed Rwandan journalists on Sunday inviting them to a news conference where he said he would discuss the closure of his radio station and court cases, the Reuters news agency reported.
On Monday, police in Rwanda arrested Schoof at the venue where he was preparing to host the conference, for “disturbing public order,” Reuters said.
Last year, Schoof’s radio station, The Amazing Grace Christian Radio, had its broadcasting license revoked after one of its presenters, Nicolas Niyibikora, repeatedly referred to women as evil.
The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) announced in April 2018 that it had taken away the station’s license. In a statement explaining the ruling, RURA said the license was revoked for failure to comply with sanctions imposed in connection with the “insulting” sermon.
Schoof has been a missionary since 2003 and spent a substantial amount of time in Rwanda, according to a biography posted to his website.
In a statement published online in September, Schoof said he was being “kicked out of Rwanda,” after he was denied a renewal of his visa.
“When we went to renew our visas, we paid for two-year visas, but they only gave us two-month visas. We appealed to the Director, and we got a final answer: We are being kicked out of Rwanda. Try to logic this out: Church–illegally closed. Radio –illegally closed. So now, because we are ‘not doing anything,’ they cannot give us visas,” he said in the statement.
Immigration authorities told CNN he was deported the day after his arrest.
Schoof did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
CNN’s Munachim Amah contributed to this report.