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Why Prosecution is Seeking Extension of Rusesabagina’s Remand

by Daniel Sabiiti
9:44 pm

The Kicukiro Primary Court has heard a prosecution appeal to extend the detention of Hotel Rwanda ‘Hero’ Paul Rusesabagina.

Rusesabagina was on September 17 denied bail and detained for 30 days to allow investigation into his case. He also lost bail case in appeal – October 2nd.

The Prosecution on Tuesday said that they need more 30 days to do more investigations.

“The time we were given was not enough for the prosecution to get more detailed information for his case and his accomplices. That is why we are asking for 30 more days to do the needed investigation.”

The prosecution revealed that they were able to use the initial 30 days to examine the case and facts of new accomplices surfacing in the case.

“We did several interrogations on the suspect and other accomplices (whose files are submitted), collected 9 witnesses testimonies needed and medical expertise of 9 victims,” the prosecution said.

On this basis, the prosecution asked the court to detain Rusesabagina for 30 more days so as to interrogate the suspect on his involvement with other alleged accomplices, interrogate more witnesses in Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru and Ruzisi districts to prepare a full dossier combined with earlier evidence in the case file.

Rusesabagina’s defense team made of two lawyers David Rugaza and Emeline Nyembo disagreed with the prosecution argument.

Lawyer Rugaza argued that his client’s detention period has elapsed and therefore requested for his client to be released, defending that he can be available for trial any time he is needed.

“My client was detained on 17th September 2020 at 2pm. This means that he has been jailed for 31 days, which is illegal and he has to be released immediately,” Rugaza said.

Like Rugaza, Lawyer Nyembo also defended that there is no need to interrogate Rusesabagina on a case of suspected accomplices who didn’t appear  in his file in earlier hearings.

I am Not Rwandan-Rusesabagina

With his involvement and donating fund to FLN movement, to which he pleaded guilty, Rusesabagina faces 13 charges including terrorism, conspiracy to create an illegal armed group and murder, among others.

This Tuesday, judges read his biography, which indicated that he is Rwandan, born in Rwanda on 15 June 1954 in Ruhango district, but Rusesabagina and his attorney Rugaza said it should be corrected since “there is a different person of Belgian nationality standing in court.”

Rusesabagina said he is a Belgian by nationality who dropped the Rwandan nationality the day he and his family were taken in by United Nations as refugees.

“From that time we became Belgians and they never gave us Rwandan passports – and we never asked to be given that specific citizenship, that is why the nationality is Belgian,” Rusesabagina.

Lawyer Rugaza argued that before 1999 Rwandans had only one legal nationality thus if one dropped it by principle they can only regain it in writing.

“Paul Rusesabagina was supposed to write to regain it but he has not done it, thus we are asking a change in his biography,” Rugaza said.

However, the prosecution showed the court that during earlier trial cases Rusesabagina had agreed before court that he was Rwandan but with a Belgian nationality which shouldn’t take away the fact at hand.

The court will on Friday 23rd October decide whether Rusesabagina will be released and also determine the next trial procedure which will also clear the issue of his nationality.

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