Rwandan President Kagame has Sunday said that Hotel Rwanda’s Paul Rusesabagina was brought into Rwanda legally and not kidnapped as had been reported.
The president said some people would be shocked to know that Rusesabagina brought himself over.
“Let me eliminate the word kidnap. There was no kidnap, there was no wrongdoing in the process of his getting here, the process of getting him here was flawless as he will attest in the coming days,” Kagame said in an Interview with the state broadcaster.
Kagame further said he had no problem with anyone calling Rusesabagina a hero, but noted that he must pay for his crimes against Rwandans.
“Rusesabagena was shown and depicted as someone who saved people but there are people who were in that hotel that know the truth, the jury is still out on that,” Kagame said.
“Rusesabagena heads a group of terrorists and he’s claimed responsibility for militia attacks in which people were killed, he has blood of Rwandans on his hands.”
Rusesabagina, 66, is accused of terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder, perpetrated against unarmed Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory that are said to have been conducted by opposition platform Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD-Ubumwe), of which he was founder.
Rusesabagina was arrested a week ago in Dubai according to his family, and transferred to Rwanda.
He was a very critical opponent of President Paul Kagame and lived in exile between Belgium and the US, where he created his foundation to promote the reconciliation of Rwanda and prevent further genocides.
Rusesabagina’s work at the Hotel Mil Colinas inspired the movie “Hotel Rwanda” (2004), based on the story of this influential Hutu businessman, married to a Tutsi woman, who managed to protect his facilities from the military and the genociders and saved about 1,200 people.
In 2005, former US President George Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work and heroic deeds.
However, the Ibuka Genocide Victims Association assures that his role as saviour in the Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 people were killed in just over 100 days, has been exaggerated.
The Prosecutor’s Office accused him in 2010, together with the opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, of financing terrorist activities and armed groups. On these charges, Ingabire, Kagame’s main political enemy, was arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison, until her release through a presidential pardon in September 2018.