A Rwandan court has rejected the appeal filed by Paul Rusesabagina, known worldwide as the hero whose story is told in the film ‘Hotel Rwanda’, against the legality of his arrest and has dismissed his allegations of kidnapping.
The court has recalled that Rusesabagina has indicated on several occasions since his arrest that he was tricked into being transferred to Rwanda, and has therefore denied that it was a kidnapping, according to the Rwandan daily ‘The New Times’.
Rusesabagina denounced last week before the court that he was kidnapped by the Rwandan authorities in the Emirati city of Dubai and demanded that the proceedings be annulled and that he be released, arguments that were opposed by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Thus, the prosecution argued that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would have denounced Rwanda for interference in its sovereignty, which has not taken place, which is why it justified that his detention in Rwanda upon his arrival in Dubai was legal.
The ruling comes nearly two weeks after Rwanda’s Supreme Court rejected Rusesabagina’s request to move the terrorism case against him to Belgium, after the defendant claimed he renounced his citizenship. The court said he did not do so through legal channels and there is no official record.
Rusesabagina defended during the opening of the trial against him for alleged membership of the National Liberation Front (FLN) that the court has no authority to try him due to the fact that he is a Belgian citizen. “I am not Rwandan, I am a Belgian hostage. I was kidnapped and now I am being held,” he said.
Rusesabagina himself acknowledged at the end of September his links with the FLN, although he claimed that his role was only “diplomatic” in nature. He said that the MRDC created the FLN “as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecutor claims”. “I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes, but my role was diplomacy,” he stressed.
Rusesabagina is known worldwide after his story was captured in the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’. As acting manager of the Mille Collines hotel in Kigali, he managed to protect more than 1,200 Tutsis and moderate Hutus inside the establishment during the 1994 genocide – in which nearly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred – by taking advantage of his contacts.