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A court in Rwanda has sentenced Paul Rusesabagina to 25 years in prison on terrorism-related charges, in Kigali on Monday.
Paul Rusesabagina, the man who saved hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide – and became known worldwide after he was portrayed in the film ‘Hotel Rwanda’ -, was found guilty of backing the rebel group National Liberation Front, which has an armed wing accused of carrying out deadly attacks in the country in 2018 and 2019.
Twenty other defendants were also sentenced to jail.
Rusesabagina and his lawyers did not attend the reading of the court’s final verdict. Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Rusesabagina on nine charges, including terrorism, arson, kidnapping and forming an armed rebel group. He was convicted of eight charges.
The politician and activist, who is a frequent critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and denied all the charges, had relocated from his home in Belgium to the United States over concerns for his safety, and mysteriously appeared in handcuffs in Rwanda in August last year.
SOT, Antoine Muhima, President of High Court, Chamber of International and Cross-border Crimes (Kinyarwanda): “The court confirms that Paul Rusesabagina is guilty of being a member of a terrorist group and engaging in acts of terrorism but is not guilty of founding a terrorist group. The court therefore sentences him to 25 years in prison."
SOT, Beatrice Mukamurenzi, Judge (Kinyarwanda): “The court could have considered lowering the sentence but the fact that Paul Rusesabagina did not continue to attend the trial has left the court unaware of whether he accepts or denies the charges against him, so, the court cannot go under the sentence of 25 years in prison”
SOT, Vincent Nsengiyumva, Victim of alleged terror attacks (Kinyarwanda): “On one hand, we are happy with some of the verdicts of the court. For example, it ordered the accused to pay compensation to some of us who were impacted by their terror attacks. But again, some of the proofs we gave were not considered by the court or in some cases, we could not get proof. Overall, we are happy we will be compensated”
#Rwanda #PaulRusesabagina #Kigali #HotelRwanda
Video ID: 20210921-003
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