Paul Rusesabagina, the former hotel manager on whose acts the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda was officially charged with terrorism and other crimes in Rwanda on Monday. However, he declined to respond to a total of thirteen charges, which are denied by his lawyers.
In addition to terrorism, Rusesabagina is also suspected of complicity in murder and of setting up and participating in a militant group.
Rusesabagina holds an important position in the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD). This movement, which is mainly driven from abroad, has also produced armed groups. One of these, the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), has claimed some deadly attacks on the border with Burundi since 2018.
The former hotel owner acknowledged having contributed an amount of 20,000 euros to the FLN. “FLN has killed people,” Rusesabagina said Monday. “If bad acts have been committed against the population, I am sorry and I ask for forgiveness from the next of kin.”
Rusesabagina openly criticized the current Rwandan president
The Oscar-nominated movie Hotel Rwanda revolves around the Hotel des Mille Collines, where Rusesabagina held the position of manager. There he used his connections to protect hundreds of people from the Hutu militias, who slaughtered more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus with machetes in 1994.
After the genocide, Rusesabagina obtained a Belgian nationality, after which he later fled to the United States. There he openly criticized the current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
Partly because of this criticism, various human rights organizations fear that Rusesabagina will not face a fair legal process. So suggested Human Rights Watch that Rusesabagina was allegedly kidnapped from Dubai, after which it was announced a few days later that he had been taken into custody in Rwanda.
The court on Monday denied an illegal arrest of the former hotel owner. The arrest is said to have been legitimate because it took place in Rwandan area. How Rusesabagina ended up in the Rwandan area is as yet unclear.