Paul Rusesabagina, hero of “Hotel Rwanda”, found guilty of terrorism charges
Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the 1994 genocide film “Hotel Rwanda”, has been convicted of forming a terrorist group, reports The New York Times.
Why is this important: Rusesabagina proclaimed his innocence and boycotted the trial, which his family and supporters denounced as a “sham” intended to silence him for criticizing Rwandan leader Paul Kagame.
Inventory: Kagame accused Rusesabagina of taking advantage of his heroism and creating a group to overthrow the government, the Times notes.
- Rusesabagina was the manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali, which he turned into a refuge for 1,268 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority, during the 1994 genocide that killed up to a million people, notes the Times .
To note : A book by British journalist Michela Wrong published in May revealed evidence suggesting that Kagame played a vital role in triggering the genocide.
- Wrong says Kagame’s government has focused on dissenting silence and data manipulation.
Between the lines: Rusesabagina, who had not lived in Rwanda since 1996, said he was kidnapped in Dubai in 2020 and denied all charges, according to Reuters.
- The trial began in February and drew widespread criticism, with more than 30 U.S. senators urging Kagame to release Rusesabagina.
What they say : “The court concludes that they should be found guilty of being part of this terrorist group,” Judge Beatrice Mukamurenzi said, according to The Times.
- “They committed terrorist acts which they then bragged about in various ads and videos,” Mukamurenzi added.
- In a statement to ABC News, Rusesabagina’s family said, “We are happy that the masquerade of the trial is over. We assume that they will end the sham by convicting him on Monday. Fair trial in Rwanda, and the recent months have shown it.