Conflicts & War

Prison sentence for man who inspired Hotel Rwanda commuted

Kigali, Mar 24 (EFE).- Rwanda’s president on Friday commuted a prison sentence handed to Paul Rusesabagina, a human rights activist whose actions during the 1994 genocide inspired the film Hotel Rwanda.

Rusesabagina, the former manager of the Hotel des Milles Collines, which was used as a refuge by those fleeing the genocide, was sentenced to 25 years in jail on terrorism charges in 2021 having been convicted alongside others of financing the FLN rebel group.

A Belgian national and permanent resident of the United States, Rusesabagina was arrested in 2020 after a plane he thought was traveling from Dubai to Burundi landed in Kigali.

His arrest and subsequent jailing was widely condemned by the United States, the European Union and human rights groups, with his family saying it was a kidnapping.

A statement from Rwanda’s minister of justice said the sentences handed to Rusesabagina and 19 others had been commuted by order of president Paul Kagame.

Rusesabagina gained world renown for helping to shelter thousands of Tutsi and Hutu refugees during the genocide in which over 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu militias.

He later became a critic of Kagame, who has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist since 2000. EFE


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