5 Things to Know About the Paul Rusesabagina Case
July 27, Carine Kanimba, the youngest daughter of Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina, testified before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee about a malware attack on her phone allegedly carried out by the Paul Kagame-led Rwandan government which has prosecuted and jailed her father over trumped-up allegations of terrorism. Here’s what you need to know about the Rusesabagina case:
Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen and U.S. permanent resident who lived with his family in San Antonio, Texas. He is the inspiration behind the award-winning film Hotel Rwanda. He is an outspoken critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, which made him a target of the Kagame regime for years.
Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen and U.S. permanent resident who lived with his family in San Antonio, Texas. He is well-known as the inspiration behind the film Hotel Rwanda which depicts his heroism during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A vocal critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Rusesabagina has been targeted by the Kagame regime for years.
For at least three days after he was lured from his residence in the U.S., Rusesabagina’s whereabouts were unknown to his family or legal counsel, constituting enforced disappearance prohibited under international law.
On August 27, 2020, he was lured from his home in the U.S. to Dubai and deceived into thinking he was flying to Burundi. Instead, he was sedated and forcefully flown to Kigali where he was detained. For at least three days, his whereabouts were unknown to his family or legal counsel, constituting enforced disappearance prohibited under international law. He was held in solitary confinement for 260 days, and remained in detention until September 20, 2021, when the Rwandan High Court’s Special Chamber for International Crimes and Cross-border Crimes sentenced him to 25 years in prison, following a sham trial.
Rusesabagina’s rights to be brought promptly before a judge, be presumed innocent, and have access to consular assistance were violated. He was denied access to his casefile and had no time or means to prepare.