Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina found guilty of terrorism charges

Kigali, Rwanda – A Rwandan court has found Paul Rusesabagina, a former Rwandan hotel manager who claims to have sheltered hundreds of people during the nation's 1994 genocide which later became the subject of a Hollywood movie, guilty of terrorist acts.

Paul Rusesabagina has been found guilty of terrorism-related charges in Rwanda (archive image).
Paul Rusesabagina has been found guilty of terrorism-related charges in Rwanda (archive image).  © IMAGO / Seeliger

Rusesabagina had provided financial and logistical support to the armed wing of an opposition movement he co-founded, the court said during the sentencing in Kigali.

This armed wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN), was responsible for deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019, it added.

"Basing on the analysis of evidence presented and the outcome of the different interrogations, we find that there was a channel through which FLN was being funded. Rusesabagina was one of its funders," Judge Beatrice Mukamurenzi told the court.

Rusesabagina became famous through the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, in which the story is told of how the hotel manager saved the lives of about 1,200 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

At that time, more than 800,000 members of the Tutsi and Hutu population groups were killed.

Later, Rusesabagina became a fierce critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and went into exile in Belgium.

According to his lawyer, he was kidnapped by the Rwandan authorities in Dubai to be tried.

The European Parliament, US members of Congress, and human rights activists have strongly criticized the way he was arrested and the conditions of his detention.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Seeliger

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