Rwandan Genocide Hero, Rusesabagina, Picks Lawyers For Terrorism Trial

Rwandan genocide hero, Paul Rusesabagina, has chosen the legal representatives in his going trial in his home country.

Rusesabagina, whose ‘heroics’ inspired the film Hotel Rwanda about the 1994 genocide, been charged with terrorism and murder among other 13 counts.

Vincent Lurquin, one of the lawyer he reportedly chosed, who is based in Belgium, announced this on Thursday.

Up to now, he has been represented in court by two lawyers, whom his family said were picked by the prosecution.

Mr Rusesabagina has not yet entered a plea on the charges.

Lurquin told journalists on Thursday that he received a letter from Mr Rusesabagina during a recent visit to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in which he picked Mr Lurquin and Gatera Gashabana from a list of seven names drawn up by his family.

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But the two lawyers were reportedly denied access to their client.

“I don’t see why Rwanda blocked me from seeing and assisting my client, a Belgian citizen, on a case that started in Belgium,” Mr Lurquin said.

Rusesabagina was denied bail early this month and is detained at a prison in Kigali.

Rusesabagina, who has become a high-profile government critic and has been living in exile for years, appeared last month under arrest in Kigali in murky circumstances, with his family alleging he was kidnapped abroad.

Prosecutors on Monday hit him with 13 charges including terrorism, financing and founding rebel groups, murder, arson and conspiracy to involve children in armed groups.

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“The court finds that the charges by the prosecution against Rusesabagina are grave and serious,” Judge Dorothy Yankurije said as she blocked his bail request on Thursday.

“The court ordered that Rusesabagina be detained provisionally for at least 30 days pending his trial.”

Rusesabagina, who had asked to be released to seek medical care, immediately announced he would appeal the decision.

The 66-year-old Rusesabagina is a cancer survivor and suffers from a heart condition and hypertension, requiring chronic medication, his family have said previously.

“The health concerns brought by Mr Rusesabagina are baseless since he does not show how being in detention prevents him from accessing all the medical attention he needs,” the judge said.

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