By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Kigali: A Rwandan court on Monday said Paul Rusesabagina was guilty of terrorism-related charges.
Rusesabagina, a prominent opponent of the Rwandan government, was accused by authorities of lending his support from abroad to a rebel group in Rwanda.
Prosecutors have sought a life sentence.
The 67-year-old was credited with saving hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide, and his actions inspired Hollywood’s “Hotel Rwanda.”
What Were The Charges?
Rusesabagina was arrested in August 2020 in mysterious circumstances, after a Burundi-bound plane, he boarded from the UAE instead landed in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
The former hotelier was charged with nine offenses, including being a member of a terrorist organization, financing terrorism, murder and armed robbery.
The attacks in question, which were carried out by the local National Liberation Front (FLN) killed at least nine civilians throughout 2018.
Rusesabagina, who is now a Belgian citizen, allegedly used WhatsApp from abroad to coordinate arms deals to facilitate the attacks.
The Former Hotelier As An Opposition Figure
Rusesabagina became a global celebrity after the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” depicted him as a hero.
The Hollywood movie was inspired by Rusesabagina’s role as the former manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, where he sheltered hundreds of guests from ethnic persecution during the genocide.
After growing critical of Kagame’s rule in Rwanda, he left the country in 1996, residing first in Belgium and then the US.
While abroad, he used his global platform to advocate for political change in Kigali.
Rusesabagina founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition group of which the FLN is seen as the armed wing.
Rusesabagina and his family members have repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.
The trial of Rusesabagina, along with 20 others, began in February, six months after his arrest.