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)


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  • 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.

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