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A Rwandan court docket has sentenced Paul Rusesabagina, the person who impressed a Hollywood movie concerning the nation’s 1994 genocide and is an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame, to 25 years in jail for “terrorism”.
The Nationwide Liberation Entrance (FLN), which opposes the Kagame authorities, is accused of finishing up assaults in Rwanda.
“The court docket finds that owing to the testimonies heard, proof offered . . . we discover there’s a prima facie case towards Rusesabagina on the cost of creation and being a member of a terror group,” mentioned choose Beatrice Mukamurenzi in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Monday.
“We discover Rusesabagina’s position in creating FLN, his provision of funds and buying for them safe telephones to make use of, all represent the crime of committing terrorism. We subsequently discover him culpable of the crime of terrorism,” she added. His household and legal professionals monitoring his case say Rusesabagina didn’t obtain a good trial.
To critics, the arrest of a Belgian citizen and recipient of the US presidential medal of freedom highlights allegations that Kagame’s authorities, which has gained accolades for turning the nation spherical after the genocide, aggressively cracks down on opponents at residence and overseas. Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Entrance ended the 1994 genocide, wherein about 800,000 Tutsis and average Hutus have been killed, with a navy victory.
A divisive determine in his residence nation, Rusesabagina was arrested final 12 months after what his daughters described as a “kidnapping” by Rwandan authorities. He was scheduled to take a flight from Dubai to Burundi however was detained in Kigali.
“My father was kidnapped, tortured after which compelled to face a sham trial all as a result of he dared name on human rights abuses in Rwanda. There isn’t any truthful trial course of in Rwanda. There isn’t any impartial judiciary and there’s no justice for our father,” mentioned Anaïse Kanimba, his daughter.
Kagame has denied that Rusesabagina was “kidnapped” by the authorities: “There was no kidnap. There was not any wrongdoing within the technique of his getting right here. He acquired right here on the idea of what he believed and needed to do.” This month, Kagame said during a national broadcast that “this man deserves to be pretty tried within the court docket of legislation and goes to be tried within the court docket of legislation as truthful as that may be. And there’s nothing going to be wanting that.”
However Geoffrey Robertson QC, a global human rights lawyer and the Clooney Basis for Justice’s TrialWatch professional on the case, mentioned: “This was a present trial somewhat than a good judicial inquiry. The prosecution proof towards him was unveiled however not challenged. Given Mr Rusesabagina’s age and poor well being, this extreme sentence is more likely to be a dying sentence.”
Rusesabagina gained worldwide acclaim after the success of the 2004 movie Resort Rwanda, wherein he was portrayed by Don Cheadle. In his 2006 autobiography, An Bizarre Man, he describes how he was in a position to cover greater than 1,200 folks contained in the Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali. However critics, together with Kagame, have contested his account.
“This prolonged trial has uncovered the terrorist actions of the FLN group led by Rusesabagina. The proof towards the accused was indeniable,” mentioned Yolande Makolo, spokesperson for Rwanda’s authorities.