25 years in prison for Paul Rusesabagina, the former director of the Hotel des Mille Collines. On Monday, a Kigali court found him guilty of “terrorism” for his association with the National Liberation Front (FLN), the armed wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD).
The former director of the Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali, known to have enabled the rescue of more than a thousand people during the genocide of 1994, was found guilty of having formed and financed the FLN, an accused rebel group for carrying out deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.
An unsurprising verdict for the daughter of this long-time opponent of President Paul Kagame, while Belgium, of which he is a national, evokes an unfair trial.
“We are not surprised by the judges’ decision. They have decided what the dictator wants them to decide, and so we expected exactly that. Now that the trial is over, we are happy that this piece of theater is over. It’s a chapter that ends and it allows us now to put more pressure in other places, to ask the international community, which is now talking about sanctions, to actually invoke them on Rwanda ” , says Carine Kanimba.
Made famous by the movie Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina had lived in exile for 25 years.
His arrest in August 2020 had sparked controversy, with his family claiming he was kidnapped when a plane descended to Burundi.
“My father was illegally detained before this verdict. He is illegally detained today, and tomorrow, after this verdict, he will be illegally detained again. So our campaign continues. We are not discouraged by this verdict, it does mean nothing for us “, supports his Carine Kanimba.
According to one of the judges at the Kigali court, reducing the 25-year prison sentence would be impossible due to the boycott of the hearings by the accused and his defense.
“The MRCD-FLN has committed terrorist acts. The MRCD cannot be separated from the military acts” of the FLN, said Beatrice Mukamurenzi.
The United States, which awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, and the European Parliament had also expressed concerns about the conditions of his arrest and the fairness of the trial.
In an interview in early September, Rwandan President Paul Kagame assured that Paul Rusesabagina would be “judged as fairly as possible”.
Source: News Agencies