Arsenal has been asked by the daughter of Hotel Rwandan hero Paul Rusesabagina to stop taking money from Rwanda’s ‘dictatorial’ government.
The Gunners’ visit follows a four-year, £10 million a year shirt sponsorship deal with Rwanda and Karine Kanimba has called on North Londoners to cancel the deal following her father’s ‘sham’ terrorism sentence.
Rusesabagina, 67, is a peace-seeking hotel manager who was portrayed in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, based on the 1994 genocide in the country.
But he was arrested last year on terrorism charges and was convicted by a Rwanda court and sentenced on Monday to 25 years in prison.
US resident Rusesabagina was in exile and claims he was kidnapped in Dubai and taken to Rwanda against his will. And his family called Monday’s trial a ‘sham’.
President Paul Kagame has been criticized at home and abroad for his political and human rights record.
and in an interview with channel 4Kanimba has urged Arsenal to ‘stop taking your money’ to stand up to the ‘injustice’.
When asked who she wants to pressure Kagame after her father’s conviction, she said: “We believe that the reality behind this regime is to continue to advocate, to show the world, to tell the people Is …
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“And to encourage teams like Arsenal who are taking money from the dictator to stop taking his money.
“Because it will be the strongest show of support and the strongest demonstration that the international community does not stand by this level of injustice.”
During the 100 days from April 1994, approximately 800,000 people – mostly from the Tutsi community – were killed by Hutu extremists.
Hotel Rwanda shows Rusebagina helping shelter 1,000 people who were trying to escape harm.
He was initially praised for his actions, but gradually became an enemy of the Rwanda state as his criticism of the government and his human rights record increased.
The landlocked country was praised by the World Bank in 2018 for having ‘achieved impressive development gains since the 1994 genocide and civil war’.
Rwanda’s tourism board also sponsors Paris Saint-Germain, which features women’s kit, men’s training gear and the ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo visible at the Parc des Princes stadium.
While in exile from Rwanda, Rusesabagina led an opposition coalition that had an armed wing – the National Liberation Front (FLN).
In a 2018 message, he called for regime change, saying that ‘the time has come for us to use any means possible to bring about change in Rwanda’.
He has been found guilty of supporting a rebel group behind deadly attacks in 2018 and 2019.
An Arsenal spokesman told SunSport: “Since the start of our partnership in 2018, we have worked together to raise awareness of the country, while telling the story of Rwanda’s culture, heritage and transition.
“A year after the partnership began, Rwanda’s tourism revenue increased by 17 percent and tourists from Europe increased by 22 percent.
“This growth supports the growth of Rwanda’s economy, creating more revenue they can reinvest in all key sectors, lifting thousands out of poverty, and empowering citizens.
“This is where we will continue our focus.”
Channel 4 said on Monday: “We have brought the allegations in this interview to the Rwanda High Commission who have not yet responded.
“The Rwandan authorities have denied Rusesabagina’s allegations of human rights abuses.”
Claire Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, wrote in March: “Investing in raising awareness is paramount to attracting tourists, and in the case of Rwanda, the need to change negative perceptions tied to our history is also critical.
“That is why our partnerships with football clubs like Arsenal and PSG are such important investments.
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“They provide us with an invaluable opportunity to showcase the wonders of our country, challenge entrenched prejudices and present the reality of Rwanda to the world.”
Earlier this year, Kagame criticized Arsenal’s poor form and said ‘the fans don’t deserve it’.
And in 2019, David Luiz traveled to the African nation and met Kagame in person.
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