Rwanda hotel hero arrested for terrorism, police say

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KIGALI, Rwanda – Paul Rusesabagina, described in the film “Hotel Rwanda” as a hero who saved the lives of more than 1,200 people in the 1994 genocide in the country, has been arrested by the Rwandan government for terrorism, the Rwandan government said. police Monday.

A well-known critic of President Paul Kagame, Rusesabagina had lived outside Rwanda since 1996 and police did not say where he was apprehended. He had lived in Belgium then in Texas in the United States

Handcuffs and face mask, Rusesabagina, 66, was shown to the press in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Monday by police. He has yet to be formally charged in court.

“Through international cooperation, the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation wants to inform the general public that Paul Rusesabagina has been arrested,” police said in a statement Monday.

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“Rusesabagina is believed to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed and extremist terrorist groups, including the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) operating from various locations in the region and in the foreigner, ”police said.

There was an international arrest warrant against Rusesabagina to answer charges of serious crimes, including terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder, perpetrated against unarmed and innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory, a indicated the police. Police told media in Kigali that investigations against Rusesabagina would continue and more information would be released on his alleged activities.

Rusesabagina has previously denied government accusations that it was financially supporting the Rwandan rebels.

Rusesabagina has been a leading critic of the Kagame government, calling it a dictatorship and urging Western countries to pressure the government to respect human rights.

Government supporters reject Rusesabagina’s criticisms, claiming Kagame’s leadership supports democracy and economic growth.

Rusesabagina has won numerous international honors, including the United States Presidential Medal for Freedom, awarded to him by President George W. Bush in 2005.

The Rwandan government disputes Rusesabagina’s story of rescuing survivors from a hotel in Kigali during the genocide, in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus trying to protect them were killed by Hutus.

The 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” showed Rusesabagina, a Hutu married to a Tutsi, using his influence as director of the Hotel des Mille Collines, to allow more than 1,200 Tutsis to take shelter in the rooms of the hotel. the hotel. In the film, Rusesabagina was played by actor Don Cheadle.

Naphatal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of Ibuka, a survivors’ organization in Rwanda, said Rusesabagina’s arrest was good news for genocide survivors. Ahishakiye said that Rusesabagina charged people money to be able to survive at the hotel.

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