A Hero in Handcuffs
Paul Rusesabagina, in handcuffs before the Rwandan press in Kigali capital on Monday. The official police statement, “Through international cooperation, the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation wants to inform the general public that Paul Rusesabagina has been arrested.”
The internationally honoured hero, portrayed in the film “Hotel Rwanda” as the saviour of almost 2000 people in 1994 during the country’s ethnocentric genocide ordeal, is under suspicions of founding and financially backing terrorist outfits behind heinous crimes against humanity on Rwandan soil.
“Rusesabagina is suspected to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits including the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) operating out of various places in the region and abroad,” police said.
Accusations of Terroism
The police also informed that there was an international arrest warrant for Rusesabagina to answer to these accusations of serious crimes including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder, perpetrated against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians. The officers did not, however, reveal where exactly Rusesabagina — who had been living outside Rwanda since 1996 in Belgium and then in Texas, United States, was apprehended.
Rusesabagina — a vehement critic of the Rwandan government and an opponent to President Paul Kagame, is yet to be officially charged in court and has previously denied these government allegations that he financially supports Rwandan rebels.
Police told the media in Kigali that further investigations against Rusesabagina are underway and more information will be released about his alleged activities.
The 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” showed Rusesabagina, a Hutu married to a Tutsi, as using his influence as a manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines, to allow more than 1,200 Tutsis to take shelter in the establishment’s hotel rooms. In the film, Rusesabagina was portrayed by actor Don Cheadle.
Paul Rusesabagina has won numerous international honours including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.