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Hotel Rwanda Hero Convicted of Terrorism Charges After Being 'Kidnapped' From Dubai

© AP Photo / Sayyid AzimFILE - In this April 6, 2004 file photo, Apollan Odetta, a survivor from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide light candles at a mass grave in Nyamata, Rwanda
FILE - In this April 6, 2004 file photo, Apollan Odetta, a survivor from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide light candles at a mass grave in Nyamata, Rwanda - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.09.2021
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In April 1994, a plane carrying Rwanda's President Juvenal Habyarimana - from the Hutu tribe - was shot down by a missile near the capital, Kigali. Hutu extremists used it as an excuse to launch a genocide against the Tutsi minority, killing around 800,000 people.
A hotel manager, whose heroic stand against Hutu extremists during the 1994 Rwanda genocide was made into a Hollywood film, has been convicted of terrorism charges in the capital, Kigali.
Paul Rusesabagina, 67, was convicted on Monday, 20 September, of charges which included forming an armed rebel group which he directed from exile in the United States.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame claimed that, while living in the US, Rusesabagina not only co-founded and supported the opposition Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) but backed its military wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN).
Judge Beatrice Mukamurenzi said of Rusesabagina and his co-defendants: "They should be found guilty for being part of this terror group - MRCD-FLN. They attacked people in their homes, or even in their cars on the road travelling."
Rusesabagina, a Hutu, was portrayed by Don Cheadle in the Oscar-nominated film Hotel Rwanda. It tells how he shielded hundreds of terrified Tutsis in his hotel and used his connections with the Hutu Power leaders to protect them.
After the genocide the Hutu Power elite fled and the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels - who were almost entirely Tutsi - took Kigali.
Rusesabagina, who acquired Belgian citizenship but decided to live in Texas, was also accused of backing RUD-Uranana, an armed group which launched an attack across the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018.
Rusesabagina’s lawyers say he was abducted in the United Arab Emirates with the authorities’ connivances.
Grace Ndikumagenge, a Rwandan who went into exile four years ago, told Sputnik last year: “One thing you need to know about Kagame is that he is selfish so that he feels no Rwandan should be known more than him. For Kagame, Rwanda and Rwandans are in his hands. He thinks that he can kill any Rwandan he doesn’t want.”
Ms Ndikumagenge, who is in exile in another African country, said: “Rusesabagina is a hero who is more famous for rescuing people than Kagame. So Kagame doesn’t like that. He has set many traps for him so that he can see how to silence the nations and foreigners who treat Rusesabagina as a hero.”
Kagame has been lauded by western governments for returning peace to Rwanda and boosting economic growth but his critics say democracy is a sham - Kagame won 98.79 percent of the votes in the 2017 presidential election - and the RPF cracks down mercilessly on political opposition.
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