'Hotel Rwanda' film hero Paul Rusesabagina denied bail

Friday September 18 2020

Hotel Rwanda film hero Paul Rusesabagina in a Kigali court with his lawyers on September 14, 2020. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG


A court in Kigali has denied Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina bail and ordered him remanded for 30 days pending trial.

Mr Rusesabagina, whose heroic acts during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis were depicted in the Oscar-nominated movie, was on Monday charged with 13 crimes relating to terrorism, arson, kidnap, and recruitment of child soldiers.

“The court finds that the 13 charges against Rusesabagina are very serious, and the reasons that were offered by his lawyers requesting for bail are baseless,” Presiding Judge Dorothy Yankurije said.

“The court has ordered that Rusesabagina be detained provisionally for 30 days pending his trial.”

After the ruling, Mr Rusesabagina immediately requested a microphone and appealed the verdict.

"I inform the court that I have appealed this verdict,” to which the judge responded, “it is your right.”


The court session lasted barely 10 minutes, after which Mr Rusesabagina was handcuffed and escorted to a waiting detention van by armed policemen.


Paul Rusesabagina being escorted by two police officers at a Kigali court premises. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG

He has, by law, five days to file his appeal.

Mr Rusesabagina trial has attracted global attention and in court for the first time on Wednesday were two American observers from their embassy. Mr Rusesabagina and his family are residents in the US, and the country has indicated interest in the trial.

The American Bar Association and the Clooney Foundation Justice, owned by American actor George Clooney and his wife, British barrister Amal, said on Wednesday that they would send representatives to monitor the trial.

Belgium, however, which offered him asylum and citizenship, remains tight-lipped.

On Monday, when he was first arraigned, prosecutors said that some of the evidence linking him to terror groups that killed people in Rwanda was provided by their Belgian counterparts.