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‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero, Paul Rusesabagina Convicted On Terror Charges

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A court in Rwanda has found Paul Rusesabagina, inspiration behind Hollywood’s “Hotel Rwanda”, guilty of terror-related offenses.

Rusesabagina boycotted Monday’s announcement after declaring he didn’t expect justice in a trial he called a “sham.”

He has so far been convicted of the formation of an illegal armed group, membership in a terrorist group and financing a terror group.

Rusesabagina was found guilty on the charges of murder, abduction and armed robbery as an act of terrorism. He was charged along with 20 other people.

“They should be found guilty for being part of this terror group – MRCD-FLN,” judge Beatrice Mukamurenzi said of the 20 defendants including Rusesabagina. “They attacked people in their homes, or even in their cars on the road traveling” Mukamerenzi said.

The ruling comes more than a year after Rusesabagina disappeared during a visit to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and appeared days later in Rwanda in handcuffs, accused of supporting the armed wing of his opposition political platform, Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change.

The group had claimed some responsibility for attacks in 2018 and 2019 in the south of the country in which nine Rwandans died.

Rusesabagina had earlier admitted to being a member of the group, a group that has been opposed to the rule of President Paul Kagame, but denied responsibility for violence carried out by its armed wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN).

Other defendants tried with him include Callixte Nsabimana, popularly known as Sankara, who was a spokesman for the FLN and told the court Rusesabagina was not a member of the armed wing. The judges said the two groups were indistinguishable, referring to them as the MRCD-FLN.

Prosecutors have sought a life sentence for Rusesabagina on nine charges, including terrorism, arson, taking hostages and forming an armed rebel group which he directed from abroad.

Rusesabagina, 67, who was feted around the world after being portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the film “Hotel Rwanda”, a recipient of a medal of freedom used his fame to highlight what he described as human rights violation by Kagame’s government.

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