Published On: Mon, Aug 31st, 2020

Hero manager in Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda charged with terror offences | World News

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A man whose heroism was depicted in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda has been arrested on terrorism charges, police have said.

Paul Rusesabagina, 66, was paraded in handcuffs in front of the media at the Rwanda Investigations Bureau in Kigali on Monday.

He faces several charges, including “terrorism, financing terrorism, arson kidnap and murder”, bureau spokesman Thierry Murangira said.

Rusesabagina was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005
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Rusesabagina was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W Bush in 2005

Rusesabagina was played by US actor Don Cheadle in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, which tells the story of how he sheltered Tutsis fleeing slaughter in the hotel he managed.

He moved abroad following the 1994 genocide and received international acclaim for his campaigning, and is a well-known critic of President Paul Kagame.

Rusesabagina was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honour in America – by former US President George W Bush in 2005.

But back home he sparked outrage when he warned of another genocide – this time by the Tutsis against the Hutus.

On Monday he wore a suit and a face mask and refused to speak.

He has previously said he has become the victim of a smear campaign.

The Rwanda Investigations Bureau said on Twitter that Rusesabagina had been detained following an international warrant for his arrest.

Spokesman Mr Murangira said on Monday: “Rusesabagina is suspected of being a founder or a leader or sponsor or member of violent armed extremist terror outfits… operating out of various places in the region and abroad.”

In 2010, Rwanda’s prosecutor general said authorities had evidence Rusesabagina had funded terrorist groups, though no charges were brought.

US actor Don Cheadle played Paul Rusesabagina in the 2004 film
Image:
US actor Don Cheadle played Paul Rusesabagina in the 2004 film

Authorities have since said he had a role in a string of alleged attacks by National Liberation Front (FLN) rebels in southern Rwanda along the border with Burundi in 2018.

He has not publicly responded to the charges of supporting armed groups.

Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered in 100 days during the genocide in 1994.

The killings ended when Tutsi rebels, led by now-President Paul Kagame, seized control and triggered an exodus of more than two million Hutus.



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