Kigali, Rwanda – A Rwanda court says the man who inspired “Hotel Rwanda,” Paul Rusesabagina, has been found guilty of terrorism-related crimes.
Rusesabagina boycotted Monday’s announcement, after declaring that she did not expect justice in a trial she called a “sham.”
He has so far been convicted of formation of an illegal armed group, membership in a terrorist group and funding a terrorist group. The verdict is still being read on charges of murder, kidnapping and armed robbery as acts of terrorism. He was charged with 20 others.
The ruling came more than a year after Rusebagina disappeared during a visit to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and appeared in handcuffs in Rwanda a few days later, supporting the armed wing of its opposition political platform, the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change. charged to. The group claimed some responsibility for attacks in the south of the country in 2018 and 2019 in which nine Rwandans were killed.
Rusesabagina has maintained her innocence, and her family alleges that she was kidnapped and taken to Rwanda against her will. But the court ruled that she was not kidnapped while on board the chartered flight. The government of Rwanda has claimed that he was on his way to Burundi to coordinate with armed groups based there and in the Congo.
Rusebagina is credited with saving more than 1,000 people by sheltering them in a managed hotel during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which more than 800,000 Tutsi and Hutus who tried to protect her were killed.
FILE – “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusebagina (2nd L) in a pink prisoner’s uniform arrives at the Nyrugenj Court of Justice on October 2, 2020 in Kigali, Rwanda, surrounded by Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) guards. (Photo by Simon Wolfhart/AFP
Rusesabagina, a Belgian citizen and US resident who was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, has claimed that his arrest was in response to his criticism of longtime Rwandan President Paul Kagame over his alleged human rights abuses.
Rusesabagina said he was beaten and tortured before going to prison, but Rwandan officials denied this.
Her lawyer, Felix Rudkemwa, has claimed that Rusesabagina’s legal papers were confiscated by prison authorities. HI’s family fears that he may die of ill health behind bars.
Rwanda has said that Rusabagina will get a fair trial.
But the lawsuit has caused international concern. In December, 36 US senators wrote to Kagame urging him to release Rusesabagina.