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Terrorism prosecution for one who inspired ‘Hotel Rwanda’ begins

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Terrorism prosecution for one who encouraged 'Hotel Rwanda' begins

On Wednesday, the terrorist trial of the man who inspired the movie “Hotel Rwanda” started with his claim that he should not be prosecuted by a Rwandan court because he is no longer a citizen and his statement that he was abducted and is being held hostage.

Paul Rusesabagina had learned nothing from the world after he vanished during a visit to Dubai in August and emerged handcuffed days later in Rwanda, accused of aiding the armed wing of his opposition political platform, which claimed responsibility for the fatal attacks.

His family says the 66-year-old Rusesabagina, who was lauded during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda for saving ethnic Tutsis and awarded the US Because of his vocal criticism of longtime Rwandan President Paul Kagame and violations of human rights, the Presidential Medal of Freedom has little hope of a fair trial. They’re also worried he could die behind bars from poor health.

The circumstances surrounding the detention of Rusesabagina, his restricted access to an independent legal team and his reported declining health have increased international concern about the Belgian citizen and resident of the United States who left Rwanda in 1996.

The judge on Wednesday said that when the trial resumes on Feb. 26, the court will consider Rusesabagina’s claim that it has no authority to prosecute a non-citizen and announce its verdict.

Shortly after Rusesabagina’s detention, Rwanda’s president indicated during a national address that he may have been tricked into boarding a private plane to Rwanda, a place where his family said he would never visit again on a voluntary basis.

The government of Rwanda has said that Rusesabagina will be granted a fair trial. He is charged with nine counts, including the creation of an illegal armed group; membership of a terrorist group; terrorism financing; and assassination, kidnapping and armed robbery as a terrorist act. He could face more than 20 years in jail if convicted.

“Let me say that I am Belgian and not Rwandan for the fifth time,” Rusesabagina told the court. I have been abducted and taken to Rwanda and I am being held hostage here. “The abduction itself is a crime.” In the past, Rusesabagina has declined to support rebel groups.

His prosecutor, Gatera Gashabana, told the court that no arrest warrants for Rusesabagina had been released by the Rwandan prosecution. As the prosecutor has said, he was neither extradited nor detained in Kigali. He has been abducted.’

But the judge, Antoine Muhima, said, “If Belgium is unable to extradite its citizens to Rwanda, can Rwanda not prosecute a Belgian who has committed crimes in Rwanda?” ”

And Bonaventure Ruberwa, the lead prosecutor, said, “We do not accept that he is not a Rwandan.” We know him as a dual-nationalized Rwandan. He admits that he was born to Rwandan parents. His nationality is Rwandan by birth. The Rwandan nationality he had before he became Belgian was never forsaken by him.

Rwanda’s criminal code states that Rwandan courts are tried by a non-national or national who commits a crime in Rwanda, the prosecutor said.

By sheltering them at the hotel he managed during the genocide in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus who tried to defend them were killed, Rusesabagina is credited with saving over 1,000 lives. The government of Rwanda has long claimed that the involvement of Rusesabagina in the genocide was exaggerated.

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