Hotel Rwanda hero loses ‘kidnap’ appeal

The man portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about the Rwandan genocide has lost his appeal questioning the legality of his arrest last August.
On Wednesday, a Rwandan court said Paul Rusesabagina was tricked into coming to Rwanda and not kidnapped, and that the terrorism trial should continue.
Mr Rusesabagina had insisted he was abducted from Dubai last August and brought to Rwanda in a private jet by his friend Constantin Niyomwungere.
A fierce critic of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Mr Rusesabagina is accused of sponsoring deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019 by the FLN, the armed wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), a coalition of opposition parties of which he is vice-president.
Mr Niyomwungere, a fellow Belgian citizen, told the court he had tricked Mr Rusesabagina into believing they were heading to Burundi’s main city, Bujumbura, from Dubai.
He said that he had agreed to co-operate with Rwandan investigators to get a private jet for their trip, after he “believed Rusesabagina should face justice for his soldiers deadly attacks”.
The 66-year-old became famous after Don Cheadle played him in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, which depicts his efforts to save hundreds of people from being murdered during the 1994 genocide.
He left Rwanda in 1996 and sought asylum in Belgium. He later obtained a green card for the US, becoming involved in opposition politics in exile.
His lawyers have denied the charges against him.
Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days.
Most of the dead were Tutsis – and most of those who perpetrated the violence were Hutus.
Even for a country with such a turbulent history as Rwanda, the scale and speed of the slaughter left its people reeling.
The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on April 6 1994.
A French judge has blamed current Rwandan President, Paul Kagame – at the time the leader of a Tutsi rebel group – and some of his close associates for carrying out the rocket attack.
Mr Kagame vehemently denies this and says it was the work of Hutu extremists, in order to provide a pretext to carry out their well-laid plans to exterminate the Tutsi community. -BBC

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