Sep 21, 2021 @ 15:34

US concerned ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero did not get fair trial

The United States said Monday it was concerned that Paul Rusesabagina, the “Hotel Rwanda” hero who was sentenced on Monday to 25 years in prison on terror charges, did not get a fair trial.

“The United States is concerned by the Government of Rwanda’s conviction of US lawful permanent resident Paul Rusesabagina,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “The reported lack of fair trial guarantees calls into question the fairness of the verdict.”

Rusesabagina, a US Green Card holder, was convicted by a high court in Kigali of involvement in a rebel group blamed for deadly gun, grenade and arson attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.

The 67-year-old former hotelier, who has become an outspoken government critic, is credited with saving over 1,200 lives during the country’s 1994 genocide. His actions inspired the Hollywood film.

The State Department spokesman said Washington was “concerned by the objections Mr. Rusesabagina raised related to his lack of confidential, unimpeded access to his lawyers and relevant case documents and his initial lack of access to counsel.

“We urge the Government of Rwanda to take steps to examine these shortcomings in Mr. Rusesabagina’s case and establish safeguards to prevent similar outcomes in the future,” he added.

Agence France-Presse

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