Rwanda’s President Kagame Defends Trial of Genocide Hero

Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina is escorted by police officers after his pre-trial court session at the Kicukiro Primary court in Kigali, Rwanda, on Sept. 14, 2020. AFP via Getty Images

Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame has dismissed widespread condemnation of the terrorism trial of the “Hotel Rwanda” hero who has been praised for saving more than 1,000 lives during the country’s 1994 genocide.

According to the President who spoke in a nationally televised interview, Paul Rusesabagina, who is now a prominent Kagame critic was in the dock because people had died as a result of his later actions.

Rusesabagina, 67, is being charged with being a terrorist mastermind who financed a rebel group behind a string of deadly attacks in the east African country.

The accused and his family have long rejected the allegations and say the former hotelier is only a victim of a politically-motivated show trial despite being a founder of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition group of which the FLN is seen as the armed wing.

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Rusesabagina, who is a Hutu subsequently became an outspoken Kagame critic and lived in exile in the US and Belgium since 1996.

He was arrested in August last year when a plane he believed was bound for Burundi landed in Kigali instead, a move his supporters describe as a kidnapping.

He is presently facing a nine-count charge, including terrorism,although he has boycotted proceedings since March, accusing the court of unfairness and a lack of independence.

Rwanda’s President, Kagame has been in power since 1994 and is accused by critics of crushing opponents and ruling through fear.

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame

Rusesabagina, who is a Hutu subsequently became an outspoken Kagame critic and lived in exile in the US and Belgium since 1996.

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He was arrested in August last year when a plane he believed was bound for Burundi landed in Kigali instead, a move his supporters describe as a kidnapping.

He is presently facing a nine-count charge, including terrorism,although he has boycotted proceedings since March, accusing the court of unfairness and a lack of independence.

Kagame has been in power since 1994 and is accused by critics of crushing opponents and ruling through fear.

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