Rwanda’s Genocide Hero, Paul Rusesabagina, Denied Bail

A Rwandan court has denied Paul Rusesabagina, the man portrayed as a hero in the 1994 movie, ‘Hotel Rwanda’, bail.

Rusesabagina is standing trial on 13 counts bordering on terrorism, complicity in murder and involvement with an irregular armed group.

Rusesabagina, who once called for armed resistance to the government in a YouTube video, was charged in a Kigali court on Monday.

The 66-year-old was denied bail on Thursday though he had promised not to escape.

Rusesabagina was living in exile until he arrived in Rwanda under mysterious circumstances at the end of last month.

His family claimed he was kidnapped by Rwanda authorities while the government vehemently denied this, insisting he was arrested on an international warrant.

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In court, the 66-year-old spoke for himself and appealed against the bail denial decision.

Mr Rusesabagina is a leader of the opposition MRCD group, and the FLN is thought to be the group’s armed wing. In a court appearance on Monday, he distanced himself from the FLN’s violent attacks.

The 66-year-old former hotel manager was portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda” using his connections with the Hutu elite to protect Tutsis fleeing the slaughter.

Judge Dorothee Yankurije while ruling against his bail application said he faced grave charges and must spend 30 days in jail while authorities complete investigations.

She added that there were concerns that, if released, Mr Rusesabagina “would disrupt the ongoing investigation”.

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The court decision means that he will now be moved from police custody to prison.

“Being in jail will not stop Rusesabagina from having medical care,” she said.

His lawyers said they were dissatisfied by the ruling and that they would launch an appeal.

“His illness is a key concern,” David Rugaza, one of his lawyers, told reporters after the ruling.

Rusesabagina’s family in the United States accuse President Paul Kagame’s government of kidnapping him from Dubai, where he was on a trip, a claim that officials in Kigali reject.

Kagame has ruled Rwanda since the end of the genocide and won the last elections – in 2017 – with nearly 99% of the vote.

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Though credited with bringing stability and economic growth, Kagame’s foes say he has become increasingly autocratic.


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