Rwanda keeps ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero in jail another 30 days
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — A court in Rwanda has ordered that Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” remain in detention for 30 more days to allow prosecutors to gather evidence ahead of his trial on terrorism-related charges.
Rusesabagina faces 13 offenses that include financing terrorism, complicity in murder, recruiting child soldiers and forming a rebel group. The Belgian citizen and U.S. permanent resident denies the charges. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if he is convicted.
He has been denied bail pending trial after going missing during a trip to Dubai and then appearing in handcuffs in Rwanda on Aug. 31. The trial date has not been set. His family has asserted that he was kidnapped, while Rwandan President Paul Kagame has indicated that he was tricked into boarding a plane to the East African nation.
Judge Theodosie Mukarugira ruled that “the fact that he (Rusesabagina) is sick is not alone a ground to release him on bail.” His family and the legal team that seeks to meet and represent him have expressed concern about the 66-year-old’s health.
Rusesabagina’s family and supporters have described the upcoming trial as a sham, calling on Rwanda’s leadership to explain the circumstances under which he was brought to Rwanda. They say he is not able to speak freely.
“Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen who was kidnapped and brought to Rwanda illegally. Before anything else happens in his trial, he should be allowed to talk to his independent lawyers that have been hired for him, not the lawyers the government has enforced on him,” Rusesabagina’s daughter Carine Kanimba told The Associated Press.