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Wednesday August 4th, 2021 3:25AM

UN: Respect rights of detained man of 'Hotel Rwanda' fame

By The Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The United Nations human rights office says it expects that the rights of an outspoken government critic that Rwanda paraded in handcuffs this week will be respected “notwithstanding the serious allegations” against him.

Paul Rusesabagina, whose protection of more than 1,000 people from genocide was portrayed in the film “Hotel Rwanda,” has been accused by the Rwandan government of terrorist activities. His family has expressed fears that the U.S. permanent resident and Belgian citizen was “kidnapped” during a visit to Dubai last week.

His detention prompted concern among human rights activists that this was the latest example of the Rwandan government targeting critics beyond its borders. The government has not said how he was apprehended and taken to the East African nation, and it has cited “international cooperation” without giving details.

U.N. rights office spokeswoman Liz Throssell said in a statement to The Associated Press that the office is following developments closely, and “we also understand that he has some health issues. It is vital to ensure that he has access to appropriate health care as well as to his family and legal representatives.”

Is is not clear when Rusesabagina will appear in court. Rwandan law says a suspect can be in provisional detention for 15 days, renewable for up to 90 days.

His family has said they have not been able to speak with him and they worry the 66-year-old might not be getting his hypertension medication. They have called the accusations against him fabricated.

Rusesabagina has denied the Rwandan government’s charges that he financially supports Rwandan rebels.

In Belgium, foreign ministry spokeswoman Marie Cherchari said Rwandan authorities have informed Brussels of the arrest and “Belgium was not in any way implicated in his arrest.” She said the country doesn't have many details "but we are following developments closely.”

The U.S. State Department has said it is monitoring the situation and referred questions to the Rwandan government.

___

Jamey Keaten in Geneva, Ignatius Ssuuna in Kigali, Rwanda and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
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