Hotel Rwanda hero sentenced to 25 years in prison on terror charges
Update 1: adds details on sentence)
Kigali, Sep 20 (EFE).- A Rwandan court Monday sentenced Paul Rusesabagina, the man portrayed as a hero in the Hollywood movie Hotel Rwanda, to 25 years in prison after he was declared guilty of terror charges.
According to judge Beatrice Mukamurenzi, Rusesabagina and 20 other defendants have been charged for backing the National Liberation Front (FLN), the armed wing of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) party, accused of killing civilians in terror attacks in 2018.
The one time hotel manager was arrested in August last year at Kigali international airport on arrival from Dubai. His family and supporters have alleged he was taken by force and kidnapped by Rwandan authorities.
A month later, Rusesabagina admitted to being the founder of FLN but denied any involvement in its crimes.
Since the high profile, disputed trial began in February this year, prosecutors had sought a life sentence on nine charges, including terrorism charges, robbery and financing a rebel group from abroad.
But Mukamurenzi on Monday said the sentence should be reduced to 25 years as it is his first conviction. Rusesabagina, who is 67 years old, has refused to appear in court since March claiming he has not received a fair trial.
Since the movie was released in 2004, inspired by Rusesabagina’s work to shelter some 1,000 Tutsis and Hutus during the 100-day genocide that killed some 800,000 people in 1994, Rusesabagina used his fame to denounce
President Paul Kagame’s violation of rights, becoming a state enemy.EFE cn/mp/jt