LONDON — After spending more than a year behind bar, the man who inspired the critically acclaimed 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” to learn his fate.
A Rwandan judge is set make a statement on Monday in the closely monitored process of former hotelier Paul Rusesabagina and 20 co-defendants, who be accused of terrorism-related crimes. AN decision in the high-profile case was expected a month ago, but was… postponed, with new reason given for the delay.
rusesabagina, who was tried on a number of costs including: murder and financing terrorism, could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted. He has maintained his innocence while his… family and lawyers have condemned the trial as a “sham.”
“We are happy that the puppet show of the trial is coming to an end,” the Rusesabagina family told ABC News in a statement ahead of the verdict. “We assume they will finish the sham by finding him guilty on Monday. We told you world over and over that there is no fair trial in Rwanda, and the past months have shown that. There is no independent judiciary, and die won’t be there either justice for U.S father. All we can do now is make this clear for everyone — a dictator will imprison a humanitarian.”
Rusesabagina, a 67-year-old married father of six, was it manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, when divisions between the two East African nations main ethnic groups came to a head. the Rwandan government, controlled by extremist members of the Hutu ethnic majority, launched a systematic campaign with to wipe out his allied Hutu militias out the ethnic minority Tutsi, slaughter more than 800,000 people over the course of 100 days, mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus who tried to protect them, according to United Nations estimates.
More than 1,200 people took hideout in the Hotel des Mille Collines during what is often described as the darkest chapter of Rwandas history. rusesabagina, who is of both Hutu and Tutsi descent, said he used his job and connections with the Hutu elite to protect the hotel guests from massacres. The events were later immortalized in “Hotel Rwanda,” with The portrayal of American actor Don Cheadle of Rusesabagina Deserves an Academy Award Nomination for best actor in 2005.
After the movie’s release, Rusesabagina became famous and was hailed as a hero. He also became a prominent and outspoken critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who has been in office for the last two decades. Some Genocide Survivors who stayed in the Hotel des Mille Collines have since accused Rusesabagina of to be exaggerating role in save them of even take advantage of it.
rusesabagina, who fled from Rwanda with to be family in 1996 and now a Belgian citizen and permanent resident of the US, traveled to Dubai on August 27, 2020, to meet up with An in Burundi born pastor who Rusesabagina claims he invited him to in to speak to churches in Burundi over to be experience during the Rwandan genocide. Later on die evening the couple jumped on An private jet that Rusesabagina believed die would take them to Burundi’s capital, according to Rusesabagina’s international legal team.
Rusesabagina not know that the pastor worked as an informant? for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and tricked him into boarding a chartered flight to Kigali.
Rwandan prosecutors claim that Rusesabagina wanted going to Burundi to coordinate with rebel groups die are located there and in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The accusations facing Rusesabagina stem from his leadership of an exiled opposition coalition called the Rwandan movement for Democratic Change, known by the French acronym MRCD. In 2018 there were a series of deadly to attack on villages in Southern Rwanda, near the country’s border with Burundian and Rwandan authorities have set up the National Liberation Front, of FLN, the armed wing, accused of the MRCD. In a video statement die was later released, year, Rusesabagina promised his “unconditional” support” for the FLN, Kagame’s stated government to be the… enemy of the Rwandan people” and called for “any means” possible bring about change.”
Rusesabagina has acknowledged that the MRCD had an armed wing, but denied its involvement. The 20 other defendants in the trial is accused of FLN organizers and fighters.
The abode of Rusesabagina was unknown for several days until the Rwandan authorities paraded him in handcuffs during a press conference at RIB headquarters in Kigalia on Aug 31, 2020. claims he was tied up and blindfolded by RIB agents who took him from the plane to an unnamed location where he was gagged and tortured before being jailed, according to an affidavit met a commemorative statement of a conversation between Rusesabagina and one of are Rwandan lawyers. The RIB rejected the claims.
Since then, Rusesabagina has been kept in An prison in capital of Rwanda, including more than eight months in solitary confinement, according to his international legal team. The UN Nelson Mandela rules state that loving someone in solitary confinement for more than 15 consecutive days is torture.
Rusesabaginas family and legal representatives have accused the Rwandan authorities of kidnap him and illegally bring him into the country. the Rwandan government has admitted to pay for the plane that took Rusesabagina to Kigali, but Kagame said there was no wrongdoing because he was “brought here” on the base of what he believed and wanted To do.”
The process of Rusesabagina in to be home country has attracted worldwide attention since it began in February, with to be family and lawyers die to call on the international community until intervene. They said his privileged documents are routine in be seized in prison and he was refused access to his international legal team, being inclusive lead counsel, Kate Gibson, who has previously represented Rwandan accused before the UN International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda.
“Paul Rusesabagina’s Inevitable Conviction Is the End” of a script that was already written before he was kidnapped in August 2020,” Gibson told ABC News in a statement ahead of Monday’s verdict. “The only thing that was surprising in watching this horror show unfold over the last year, has been the brutality and openness with die the Rwandan authorities have been willing to systematically violate everything of the rights to a fair trial to which Paul was entitled.”
“The Rwandans had every opportunity to present their judicial system and put on the fairest of fair trials, “they added. “They did the opposite.”
Rusesabaginas family and lawyers have also expressed concern over his health and treatment behind bar. They said he is a cancer survivor who suffers from high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, and has been refused his prescribed medication.
“As the international community does not step in,” the family said, “He will probably be” in jail for the rest of his life.”
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