Hotel Rwanda hero 'wrongly detained' - State Department

U.S. says ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero Rusesabagina ‘wrongly detained’

Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina walks handcuffed with guards to attend a court hearing at the Kicukiro primary court in Kigali, Rwanda, on 25 September 2020. (Photo: EPA-EFE / EUGENE UWIMANA)

WASHINGTON, May 19 (Reuters) - The United States has determined that Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed in the film "Hotel Rwanda" sheltering hundreds of people during the African nation's 1994 genocide, has been "wrongfully detained," the State Department said on Thursday.

Rusesabagina, 67, was sentenced last September to 25 years in prison over eight terrorism charges tied to an organization opposed to Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s rule. He has denied all the charges and refused to take part in the trial that he and his supporters have called a political sham. Read full story

“The determination took into account the totality of the circumstances, notably the lack of fair trial guarantees during his trial. This determination does not imply any position on his innocence or guilt,” a State Department spokesperson said.

Rusesabagina, who was feted around the world after being portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda,” is a vocal critic of Kagame. He is being held in a Rwandan prison.

He has acknowledged having a leadership role in the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), but denied responsibility for attacks carried out by its armed wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN). The trial judges said the two groups were indistinguishable.


(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Eric Beech; Editing by Will Dunham)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • CG Gardner says:

    I am not sure Western reason applies to such an African state. Having visited Rwanda last week it was fascinating observing a country where the state delivers on its mandate and is held in such high regard by its people. Africa is renowned for militia uprising and has to stop it in its tracks.
    Also interesting hearing the other story to Hotel Rwanda where Paul. R.used the UN protection site to demand money for those entering the hotel.
    Not convinced which story is the truth but am sure that Rwanda is the best run country on the continent.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

[%% img-description %%]

The Spy Bill: An autocratic roadmap to State Capture 2.0

Join Heidi Swart in conversation with Anton Harber and Marianne Merten as they discuss a concerning push to pass a controversial “Spy Bill” into law by May 2024. Tues 5 Dec at 12pm, live, online and free of charge.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options