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Rwandan court docket finds Lodge Rwanda movie hero responsible in terrorism case

KIGALI: A Rwandan court docket on Monday (Sep 20) sentenced Paul Rusesabagina, a one-time resort supervisor portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie concerning the 1994 genocide, to 25 years in jail after he was convicted of terrorism prices.

Rusesabagina, 67, who was feted world wide after being portrayed by actor Don Cheadle within the movie Lodge Rwanda, is a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame. He denied all prices and stated he was kidnapped from Dubai this yr to be placed on trial. His supporters known as the trial a sham, and proof of Kagame’s ruthless therapy of political opponents.

“Rusesabagina … is convicted of being a member of a terror group and collaborating in terror actions however he’s acquitted of making an unlawful armed group,” choose Antoine Muhima stated.

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Rusesabagina on 9 prices, together with terrorism, arson, taking hostages and forming an armed insurgent group. He was convicted of eight prices.

Rusesabagina has acknowledged having a management position within the Rwanda Motion for Democratic Change (MRCD), a bunch against Kagame’s rule, however denied accountability for violence carried out by its armed wing, the Nationwide Liberation Entrance (FLN).

Twenty different defendants tried with him included Callixte Nsabimana, popularly generally known as Sankara, a spokesman for the FLN. He informed the court docket Rusesabagina was not a member of the armed wing. However judges stated the 2 teams have been indistinguishable, referring to them because the MRCD-FLN. Nsabimana obtained 20 years.


Rusesabagina refused to participate within the trial and has not appeared in court docket after attending the primary few hearings in a shiny pink jail uniform, face masks and handcuffs.

The 2004 movie depicted him risking his life to shelter a whole bunch of individuals as supervisor of a luxurious resort within the Rwandan capital Kigali throughout the 100-day genocide, when Hutu ethnic extremists killed greater than 800,000 Tutsis and average Hutus.

Cheadle was nominated for an Oscar and Rusesabagina obtained the Medal of Freedom – the very best civilian award – from US President George W Bush in 2005.

Genocide survivors accused Rusesabagina of utilizing their struggling to make himself look heroic.

“That movie is fiction … He dramatised his deeds in a movie and gained awards he didn’t deserve,” Naphtal Ahishakiye, the chief secretary of genocide survivor organisation Ibuka, informed Reuters by telephone.

Such feedback have beforehand been dismissed as a smear marketing campaign by Rusesabagina’s household.


Rusesabagina used his fame to focus on what he described as rights violations by the federal government of Kagame, a Tutsi insurgent commander who took energy after his forces captured Kigali and halted the genocide.

Rusesabagina’s father was Hutu and his mom and spouse have been Tutsi. He grew to become a Belgian citizen after the genocide and lived in exile in the US till final yr.

In a video posted on YouTube in 2018, Rusesabagina known as for armed resistance, saying change couldn’t be achieved by democratic means. The yr earlier than, Kagame had gained re-election with 99% of the vote.

Rusesabagina’s trial started in February, six months after he arrived in Kigali on a flight from Dubai. His supporters say he was kidnapped; the Rwandan authorities urged he was tricked into boarding a personal aircraft. Human Rights Watch stated his arrest amounted to an enforced disappearance, which it known as a critical violation of worldwide regulation.

Kagame denies accusations of abuse and has loved help from Western donors for restoring stability and boosting financial development. Rights teams describe the Rusesabagina case as a part of a sample of intimidating Kagame’s political opponents.

“The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Entrance (RPF) continued to focus on these perceived as a risk,” stated a report final yr by Human Rights Watch, which additionally detailed arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture.


Carine Kanimba, Rusesabagina’s daughter, stated the household knew what the decision could be.

“He was denied entry to his legal professionals, worldwide authorized crew, even his Rwandan legal professionals, he has restricted entry to them after which he was held in solitary confinement for 250 days,” she informed Reuters.

Rusesabagina’s Rwandan lawyer stated they’d meet him to seek out out if he wished to attraction. He accused Rwandan authorities of intercepting authorized paperwork and denying him entry to a world crew.

Faustin Nkusi, spokesman of the Rwandan prosecution, insisted the trial was honest.

However Human Rights Watch stated there have been “a number of violations” of the precise to a good trial and that “Rwanda courts are overpowered by political affect”. 


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