clearn.png
Saturday October 16th, 2021 11:00PM

'Hotel Rwanda' hero faces trial as family fears for his life

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — As the terrorism trial for Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” is set to start on Wednesday, his family says the critic of longtime Rwandan President Paul Kagame has no chance at a fair trial and might die from poor health behind bars.

Rusesabagina, praised for saving ethnic Tutsis during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, was arrested last year in Rwanda after mysteriously disappearing during a visit to Dubai. Rwanda accuses him of supporting the armed wing of his opposition political platform, which has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks.

The circumstances around the 66-year-old Rusesabagina’s arrest, his limited access to an independent legal team and his reported worsening health have drawn international concern for the Belgian citizen and U.S. resident. His family this month said they spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a conversation the State Department described as one with “families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad.”

“This is a charade,” one of Rusesabagina’s daughters, Carine Kanimba, told The Associated Press ahead of the trial. “They kidnapped him. It is the violation of due process and international law. He should be released immediately and unconditionally.” She alleged that Rwanda has fabricated evidence against her father.

Rwanda’s president after Rusesabagina’s arrest hinted during a national address that he may have been tricked into boarding a private plane in August to Rwanda, where he was paraded in handcuffs in a country where his family said he would never voluntarily visit again.

The Rwandan court has contradicted the original police account that said Rusesabagina was arrested with “international cooperation,” instead saying he was arrested at Kigali International Airport in the capital.

The family also worries about what they call Rusesabagina’s weakening condition. His outside legal team late last month asserted that his prescribed medication for a heart disorder was being withheld, and his locally provided lawyer has said Rusesabagina told him he fears he will die of a stroke.

The European Parliament last week adopted a resolution calling for Rwanda to give Rusesabagina a fair trial and condemning what it called his enforced disappearance, illegal rendition to Rwanda and incommunicado detention.

Rwanda’s justice minister, Johnston Busingye, described the resolution as “meddling in an ongoing judicial process in Rwanda, a sovereign state with independent courts.”

Rusesabagina faces 13 charges including terrorism, complicity in murder and forming an armed rebel group. He will face trial with 20 alleged rebel fighters. Rwanda asserts that civilians in the country’s southwest died in 2018 and 2019 because of groundwork planned by Rusesabagina.

It is not clear how long Rusesabagina would stay in prison if convicted.

Yolande Makolo, a presidential adviser on communications, tweeted last week that victims and survivors “need justice done” and asserted that Rusesabagina and the others will have a fair trial.

It is a dramatic turnaround for Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving more than 1,000 people by sheltering them at the hotel he managed during the genocide in which more than 800,000 Tutsi and Hutus who tried to protect them were killed.

Rwanda’s government has long asserted that Rusesabagina’s role in the genocide was exaggerated.

After leaving Rwanda in 1996, Rusesabagina became an outspoken opponent of the government, which he accuses of numerous human rights violations.

Rusesabagina in the past has denied funding rebel groups and said he was being targeted over his criticism of Kagame’s government.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Draymond Green slams NBA over star players on trading block
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green sharply criticized the NBA on Monday night, saying players put on the trading block by teams are being treated unfairly
3:05AM ( 10 minutes ago )
What a debut: Karatsev in Australian Open SF in 1st Slam
Aslan Karatsev has become the first man in the professional era to reach the semifinals in his Grand Slam debut by beating an injured Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2
3:02AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Alleged rebels from Central African Republic face ICC trial
The former head of the Central African Republic’s soccer federation and an alleged rebel commander known as Rambo are going on trial at the International Criminal Court charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity
2:53AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
India's dramatic fall in virus cases leaves experts stumped
When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in India, there were fears it would sink the fragile health system of the world’s second-most populous country
1:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
2 plead guilty as leading Hong Kong activists go on trial
Two Hong Kong democracy activists have pleaded guilty to organizing or participating in an illegal assembly during massive anti-government protests in 2019
1:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Australia approves AstraZeneca vaccine for use
Australia’s regulator has approved the AstraZeneca vaccine as its second for use against COVID-19
1:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Draymond Green slams NBA over star players on trading block
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green sharply criticized the NBA on Monday night, saying players put on the trading block by teams are being treated unfairly
3:05AM ( 10 minutes ago )
What a debut: Karatsev in Australian Open SF in 1st Slam
Aslan Karatsev has become the first man in the professional era to reach the semifinals in his Grand Slam debut by beating an injured Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2
3:02AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Alleged rebels from Central African Republic face ICC trial
The former head of the Central African Republic’s soccer federation and an alleged rebel commander known as Rambo are going on trial at the International Criminal Court charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity
2:53AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Heavy snowfall blankets Athens; vaccinations postponed
Unusually heavy snowfall has blanketed central Athens, with authorities warning residents particularly in the Greek capital’s northern and eastern suburbs to avoid leaving their homes on Tuesday morning
2:48AM ( 27 minutes ago )
South Africa's health care workers eager for first vaccines
Health care workers at the Ndlovu Care Group in rural South Africa are among those eagerly awaiting the first jabs of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is being rolled out to them starting this week
2:42AM ( 34 minutes ago )