The ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero Is About to Go on Trial. Here’s What We Know.
NAIROBI, Kenya – He was praised as a hero during the grim days of the 1994 Schwann massacre, credited with saving the lives of more than 1,200 people who had taken refuge in his hotel, but was mysteriously past. Returned to his home at the end of the year. He was in handcuffs.
Now Paul Rusebagina, who angered the Rwandan government with his criticism of being deported for years after a blood bath, is about to go on trial in a prosecution that has drawn widespread international condemnation.
Mr. Rusasabina, who rose to fame after his works in the Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda” Charged with terrorism related offenses.
In December, a 66-year-old former hotel businessman living in Belgium and the United States was paraded in front of the press in a slum in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, with no explanation from authorities as to how he came there.
The trial, which begins on Wednesday, is being handled by the Chamber of the High Court for International Crimes and will be held in the trial room of the Supreme Court in Kigali.
Mr. Rusabagina has been Staunch critic of President Paul Kagame For years, and his family, his lawyers, and critics of the government say he has no chance of a fair trial. Here’s the story so far:
Who is Paul Rusebagina, and how did he arrest himself?
In 1994, Mr Roussebina, who had trained in hospitality in Kenya and Switzerland, was the manager of the luxurious Hotel des Mill Mills in Kigali, when Rwanda stabbed herself with bloodshed, killing a million people.
But some had the privilege of finding shelter at the hotel, where Mr. Rusbagina used liquor and cash to kill his killers. He is credited with saving 1,268 ethnic Tutis and Hutus, and his story became the basis of the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda”. Mr. Rusebagina also narrated it in his 2006 autobiography, “An Ordinary Man”.
Encouraged globally for his courage, Mr. Rusebagina received several humanitarian and civil rights awards, including the Presidential Medal in 2005 from President George W. Bush.
As his profile grew, Mr. Rusebagina used his new platform to criticize the repressive policies of Kagami, the leader of Rwanda. After his home in Belgium – where he was a citizen – was broken and stolen documents sometime, Mr. Rausagabina took his family to a gated community in San Antonio, Texas, where he believed they were all safe. Will stay
But on the afternoon of 31 August, Rwandan authorities masked him and handcuffed him.
Mr. Rusebagina had Last communicated with his family From Dubai’s airport, where he arrived on the Emirates flight from Chicago. He then boarded a private plane that he thought would be going to Burundi, where he planned to speak in churches at the invitation of a local pastor.
Instead, the aircraft, operated by the Greek-based charter firm Gainjet, landed in Kigali on the morning of 28 August, where it was Immediately arrested and imprisoned for three days. Mr. Kagame, speaking on national television, The operation is called “innocent” And denied that Mr. Rusebagina was kidnapped, as His family said.
In December, Mr. Rusebagina and his family Sued the airline. “Through this lawsuit we will be able to get some answers,” Karin Kanimba, one of Mr. Rubesabina’s daughters, said in a telephone interview.
What are the criminal charges against him?
According to the indictment issued by Rwandan authorities, Mr. Rusebagina is charged with nine offenses, murder, armed robbery and being a member of a terrorist organization.
The opposition coalition in the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change, whose armed wing, the National Liberation Front, has been accused by Rwandan authorities of attacking Rwanda’s southern border with Burundi in 2018.
Authorities have zeroed in on a 2018 video in which Mr Rusebagina stated that all “political means have been tried and failed” in Rwanda and that “using any possible means to bring about change” “.
Mr. Rosabagina has been jointly charged with 17 other defendants, including Colixet Nasatibimna, also known as Shankar, who is accused of being a former spokesperson of the National Liberation Front.
Mr. Rusebagina asked the court to release him on bail, citing poor health, but his request was rejected. The prosecution described her as a flight risk.
Mr Rusabagina’s lead lawyer, Kate Gibson, said the proceedings should not initiate many “impartial lawsuits”. An email stated that due to his Belgian citizenship and the circumstances of his arrest, Rwanda “does not have jurisdiction to adjourn the case, and should dismiss the charges and stop the proceedings permanently.”
Ms Gibson is one of Mr Rusebagina’s three international lawyers who are not allowed to represent her in Kigali.
Under what circumstances is Mr. Rusebagina being held?
According to his lawyers, Mr. Rusebagina is in solitary confinement in Magagare prison in Kigali. He has access to electricity for a few hours a day and is allowed to stand outside for an hour daily depending on the weather. He is also allowed a five-minute call to his family once a week.
Mr Rusbagina, who has high blood pressure, has repeatedly stated in recent months that he fears he will die from a stroke. He said that the family sent through the Belgian Embassy in Kigali never reached him. And with the Kovid-19 outbreak reported in prison, his family worries that he will contract the virus.
Ms. Gibson said prison officials have repeatedly confiscated confidential legal documents. While there is no case file or prosecution-related documents and no way to talk privately with his lawyers, Mr. Rusabagina has not been able to prepare his own case, he said.
“It’s a violation of her right to communicate with her lawyer in a privileged manner,” she said. “It is a violation of his right to sufficient time and resources to prepare his defense. He is completely hamstring. “
What is the world saying about the case?
The prosecution was condemned.
There are 37 members of the US Congress on Tuesday. Publicly issued a letter In December, Mr. Kagame was summoned to release Mr. Ragasabina.
a Resolution The Ravanson government, passed by the European Parliament, criticized Mr Rusabagina for “enforced disappearances, illegal evictions, and incomunicado detention”, and demanded that “his rights as EU citizens be upheld.” Lawmakers asked member state missions in Kigali, especially Belgian people, to oversee the trial and meet them in prison.
The Rwandan Parliament responded on Tuesday, Adopt a resolution Condemning the European Union’s “improperly attempting to influence ongoing judicial proceedings”.