A court in Kigali, Rwanda, has denied bail to Paul Rusesabagina, who has been decorated as the hero of the Oscar nominated movie “Hotel Rwanda”, the court order declares that he remains in custody to stand and face trial for capital charges, including terrorism.
Rusesabagina is a Rwandan-born and Belgian citizen, who rose to popularity after his actions during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide inspiring the 2004 Oscar-nominated film, Hotel Rwanda.
During the Rwanda 1994 genocide, Rusesabagina helped and sheltered hundreds of Rwandans in a hotel he managed at the time, whereas over 800,000 Rwandans (mostly Tutsis and few Hutus) lost their lives.
In the later years after Hollywood crowned him an international celebrity, a rift between him and the corrupt government emerged and became the enemy of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s regime. And ever since, he had been living in exile.
In August, he mysteriously appeared in Kigali under arrest, as his family alleging that he was kidnapped abroad and brought back to Rwanda, where he must answer to 13 charges including terrorism, funding and founding armed groups, murder and conspiracy to involve children in armed groups.
During an interview with The New York Times, Rusesabagina, speaking with Rwandan officials in the room, said he had boarded a private jet in Dubai which he thought was taking him to Burundi, but landed in Kigali instead.
The 66-year old Rusesabagina had already been denied bail in a lower court but he appealed the decision, citing poor health.
On the contrary, Judge Adolphe Udahemuka said Rusesabagina was receiving fine medical care in Rwanda and maintained that he was a flight risk as he holds a Belgian citizenship.
According to family members, Rusesabagina is a cancer survivor and surfers from a heart condition and hypertension, requiring proper medication.
Rusesabagina’s lawyer, Emeline Nyembo, said they will begin preparing his legal defence.
“Unfortunately we can’t appeal this ruling. We will continue pushing for his release but now we prepare for the substantive phase of the trial,” Nyembo told reporters after the court ruling.
Mr Rusesabagina recently admitted in court to helping form the National Liberation Front (FLN), an armed movement he previously said sought to liberate Rwanda from Kagame and his regime, who has been in power since 2000 and is accused by critics of crushing opponents and ruling through fear.
Mr Rusesabagina’s family members have claimed that his lawyers were not of his choosing and have been acting on behalf of Kagame’s regime.
“My dad is surrounded by people who want him to fall,” reported his son Tresor Rusesabagina.