‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero charged with terrorism

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Rwandan officials have arrested Paul Rusesabagina, whose protection of over 1,200 people during the country’s 1994 genocide were the basis of the film “Hotel Rwanda,” on terrorism charges.

Officers announced charges against the 66-year-old Monday, parading him before media at the Rwanda Investigations Bureau headquarters, Reuters reported.

“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,” bureau spokesman Thierry Murangira told reporters.

Muragira went on to accuse Rusesabagina, a critic of Rwanda’s leader Paul Kagame, of financing terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder.

Rusesabagina used his position as a hotel manager during the genocide to shelter minority Tutsis from an ethnic cleansing campaign by militias composed of the majority Hutus.

He left the country after the genocide and received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, a year after the film was released. Despite his international acclaim, he has been a controversial figure in Rwanda, where some survivors of the genocide have accused him of exploiting it for profit. Rwanda’s prosecutor general said officials had evidence he had funded terrorism in 2010, but no charges were brought.

Rwandan officials have also accused him of collaborating with the National Liberation Front rebel group on attacks along the country’s southern border with Burundi. Rusesabagina has not addressed the accusations of supporting terrorism but has denied exaggerating or exploiting his role in the rescue of Tutsis, according to Reuters.

Militias killed about 800,000 Tutsis and anti-genocide Hutus in 1994 during a period of just over three months. A rebel Tutsi faction, led by the nation’s current president Kagame, eventually seized control of Rwanda.

Rusesabagina has been a longtime critic of Kagame and has suggested the country is at risk of another genocide, this one perpetrated by Tutsis against Hutus.


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