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)