‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero to be released from Rwanda prison


Paul Rusesabagina, the former hotel manager who inspired the Hollywood film ‘Hotel Rwanda‘ has been released from prison after having his sentence commuted by the country’s President Paul Kagame follwing his request for clemency.

Rusesabagina, 68, was found guilty on terrorism-related charges in September 2021 and was sentenced to 25 years in Rwanda.

At his trial in 2021, Rusesabagina was found guilty of being part of a terror group called MRCD-FLN.

Rusesabagina, who is a dual Rwandan and Belgian citizen and resident of the United States, will be released on Saturday March 25, along with 19 other people that had been convicted alongside him.

A government spokesperson said Mr Rusesabagina’s sentence had been ‘commuted by presidential order’.

Mr Rusesabagina is credited with saving some 1,200 people during the 1994 genocide.

‘Commutation of sentence does not extinguish the underlying conviction,’ said Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo on Friday.

‘Rwanda notes the constructive role of the US government in creating conditions for dialogue on this issue, as well as the facilitation provided by the State of Qatar,’ she added.

Rusesabagina was arrested by Rwandan authorities while he was carrying out international travel in 2020 in what his family has claimed was a kidnapping.

Two 2018 attacks in which nine people died were a particular focus, according to a government statement.

Before his conviction and imprisonment, Rusesabagina, was an outspoken critic of President Kagame.

His story was made into the Hollywood film ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo and he is best known for saving hundreds of Rwandans during the country’s genocide by sheltering them in the hotel he managed.

In a statement his family told the BBC: ‘We are pleased to hear the news about Paul’s release. The family is hopeful to reunite with him soon.

‘It has taken years of diplomatic pressure and talks brokered by Qatar for Mr Rusesabagina to be released.

Much of that pressure came from the United States, where he had lived since 2009.

The Biden administration has said he was ‘wrongfully detained’.

His family say the Rwandan government lured him from Texas, where he had permanent residency, back to Rwanda in 2020.

He was arrested in 2020, when, according to his supporters, a private jet he believed would take him to Burundi, instead landed in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

Mr Rusesabagina left Rwanda in 1996. His story remained largely unknown for a decade, while he worked as a taxi driver in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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