A court in Rwanda has sentenced Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager portrayed as the protagonist in the 2004 film hotels Rwanda, sentenced to 25 years in prison for belonging to a terrorist group during a controversial trial that his supporters have called a sham.
Mr Rusesabagina has accepted membership of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), a dissident group opposed to the African country’s longtime President Paul Kagame, but by its armed wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN). Has denied responsibility for the deadly attacks. )
The 67-year-old was portrayed by Don Cheadle Hotel Rwanda, which tells the story of how he successfully sheltered more than a thousand Tutsi refugees in his hotel while militias killed hundreds of thousands of people from the ethnic minority group during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Its accuracy has since been questioned.
Judges in the case found Mr. Russabagina guilty of membership of an organization that carried out terrorist attacks along with the 20 other defendants he was on trial with.
FLN spokesman Calixte Nasbimana, who was involved in the trial, told the court that Mr Russabagina was not a member of the armed group, but that the judges insisted that the MRCD and FLN are different, calling them MRCD-FLN during the trial. is referred to in.
Prosecutors have sought life imprisonment for Mr. Rusebagina on nine charges, including terrorism, arson, hostage-taking and forming an armed rebel group, which he denies.
The dissidents did not appear in court in person for months, after refusing to participate in the trial that began in February, six months after arriving in Rwanda’s capital Kigali by flight from Dubai.
Supporters of Mr Rusesabagina say he was kidnapped, while the Rwandan government has suggested he was tricked into boarding the plane. Human Rights Watch It was said at the time that his arrest was an enforced disappearance and a violation of international law.
President Kagame, who has denied allegations of abuse, has been Rwanda’s president since 2000.
His party, the Rwanda Patriotic Front, has ruled the country in the years following the Rwandan genocide, during which more than 800,000 Tutsi victims as well as some moderate Hutu and Twa Hutu extremists were killed. He is credited with ending the genocide.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /