‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero Paul Rusesabagina arrested for terrorism charges

Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina arrested for terrorism charges

Paul Rusesabagina was known for his brave heroism depicted in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. He is now arrested for alleged terrorism charges.

The 66-year-old Hotel Rwanda hero was reportedly arrested because he is suspected to be the “founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits,” per the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB)’s statement on Twitter.

The arrest of the Hotel Rwanda hero

Rusesabagina, known for taking in more than 1,200 fleeing Rwandans in the hotel he was managing during the 1994 genocide, has reportedly become a critic of President Paul Kagame, per The New York Times

Accordingly, President Kagame—seated since 2000—has been lauded for maintaining the country’s good economy and political stability. However, he has been criticized by the human rights group for allegedly “brutally silencing his critics.”

Rusesabagina is accused of being part of opposition parties such as the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change and the Party for Democracy in Rwanda, according to the news outlet.

The militant wing of the mentioned group is the alleged basis for the Rwandan government to tag it as a “terrorism group.” According to the RIB, Rusesabagina is charged with “serious crime including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder, perpetrated against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory.”

According to Kitty Kurth, a spokeswoman for Rusesabagina’s Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, based in Chicago, the Hotel Rwanda hero “is a regular critic of human rights violations in Rwanda, and the Rwandan government regularly brings false charges against all critics in order to try to silence them.”

How was the Hotel Rwanda hero even arrested?

According to CNN, Rusesabagina hasn’t been in Rwanda since he left in 1996—after surviving an assassination attempt. He has Belgian citizenship and an American green card, as confirmed by Kurth to The New York Times. 

The Belgian authorities confirmed to CNN that Rusesabagina was not arrested in the country. Although, they were “notified” by the Rwandan judiciary authorities on Monday by his arrest, per Eric Van Duyse of the Belgian Federal Prosecutor Office.

CNN quotes Can Dutse, saying, “To the best of our knowledge, he was not arrested in Belgium nor transferred from our country.”

The RIB did highlight that the arrest was “through international cooperation.” As to where specifically, was left out.

Reports have it that the Hotel Rwanda hero has since been afraid to come back to the country. According to Kurth, they “believe he was kidnapped and taken by extraordinary rendition to Rwanda.”

Moreover, Rusesabagina’s family has reportedly asked the American government to intervene in his arrest—which is currently monitoring the situation.

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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