A court in Rwanda indicts Paul Rusebagina, the real-life inspiration behind the film Hotel Rwanda, on terrorism-related charges. A court in Kigali, Rwanda found that Rusesabagina was a part of a terrorist group, the MRCD-FLN, CNN informed of.
Despite the decision, Rusabagina said she had been denied a fair trial, calling it a “sham”. AP Article.
Rusabagina inspired the film ‘Hotel Rwanda’
The 1994 Rwandan genocide provided the setting for Hotel Rwanda. It detailed Rusebagina and his wife Tatiana’s efforts to rescue more than 1,000 refugees at the hotel that Rusebagina managed at the time.
Don Cheadle played the role of Russebagina and Sophie Okonedo played his wife, Tatiana. The film focused on Rasabagina’s daring effort to keep the people of the war-torn country safe and protect her family as well.
The film came out in 2004 to both audience and critical acclaim. It is included in the list of many top films of the year. It won several awards, including the People’s Choice Award at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.
Rusabagina left the country after the Rwandan genocide
The film came a decade after the incident. But by then Roussabagina had come to Belgium with her family. He is a citizen of Belgium and also a US Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee.
A longtime critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s “alleged human rights abuses” Rassabgina disappeared during a visit to Dubai last year. He was seen handcuffed in Rwanda a few days after his disappearance.
The allegations against him accused him of supporting the armed wing of his opposition political platform, the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change. According to the AP report, the armed group claimed responsibility for the 2018 and 2019 attacks in southern Rwanda, in which nine Rwandans were killed.
Accused under nine charges, Rusesabagina claimed during the trial that he was a Belgian citizen and was abducted by Rwandan authorities, who were outside their jurisdiction.
But the court ruled that the Rwandan authorities only tricked her into boarding a plane. The Rwandan government insisted that he was traveling to Dubai to meet armed groups based in Burundi and the Congo.
According to the AP, Rusesabagina also accused Rwandan authorities of harassing and torturing her while in custody. His lawyer, Felix Rudkemwa, insisted that Rwanda prison authorities confiscated his legal papers and abused him.
However, the Rwandan authorities denied all allegations of abuse and claimed that Rusesabagina would receive a fair trial.
Russesabagina and her family seek justice
Rusesabagina’s daughter Carine Kanimba spoke to CNN about her father’s lawsuit. She claimed violation of her father’s basic human rights by the Rwandan government.
“We knew there would never be a fair trial for my father and now the world knows too,” Kanimba said.
In addition, she called on Belgian and American officials to come forward to help.
“If America, Belgium and others believe in human rights, then steps need to be taken now to free our fathers.”
In December, 36 US senators wrote to Rwandan President Kagame urging him to release Rusesabagina.
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