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Paul Rusesabigana Lawyers Challenge His Arrest in East African Court

Lawyers of Hotel Rwanda ‘Hero’ Paul Rusesabagina have filed a suit in the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) in Arusha, Tanzania, challenging his illegal arrest, kidnapping, and extraordinary rendition by the Rwandan government.

Rusesabagina according to the Rwanda government was arrested on August 31 at the Kigali international airport.

However, his family and international lawyers have maintained that he was kidnapped, disappeared and subjected to extraordinary rendition from Dubai to Rwanda.

He has been charged with 13 counts including Terrorism, Arson, and Robbery among others and is being held at Nyarugenge maximum security prison in Kigali.

In the suit, the lawyers asked the EACJ to order the Rwandan authorities to immediately release him, and permanently stay the proceedings against him in Rwanda.

“If the Rwandan government had any substantiated or legitimate allegations against Mr Rusesabagina, it could have followed established procedures for his lawful extradition from the United States to Rwanda,” reads part of the suit filed to the EACJ

“Its decision to resort to kidnapping demonstrates the weakness of the allegations against Mr Rusesabagina. It also forms part of a long-established pattern of illegal treatment of political opponents of the Rwandan regime.”

Counsel Philippe Larochelle notes that the East African Community exists to ensure that its member States cannot be allowed to act like this, and the EACJ provides a legal mechanism for Rwanda to be held to account.

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“Rwanda’s membership of the East African Community means that it is bound to promote and protect human rights, and adhere to the principles of the rule of law, accountability and transparency. When the Rwandan government kidnaps a person, leaves him tied and bound for days, and subjects him to an illegal and extraordinary rendition, it is breaching these obligations,” Larochelle said in a statement prior to filing the lawsuit in Arusha Tanzania.

A renowned critic of Rwandan president Paul Kagame, Rusesabagina disappeared from Dubai on August 27, he was on 31st August paraded before the media in handcuffs.

Court last week ordered for his continued detention ruling that prosecution needed more time to conclude investigations.

Rusesabagina, was manager of the famous Hotel Des Milles Collines in Kigali, where he sheltered more than a thousand Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the genocide to save them from extremist Hutus, had an international arrest warrant, and charged with crimes such as murder and kidnapping of Rwandan civilians.

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