Rwanda has responded to a member of the US Congress that Hotel Rwanda “hero” Paul Rusesabagina was legally arrested and will stand trial in accordance with the law and thus dismissed the call to have him released and returned to the United States of America.
Ms Carolyn B Maloney, Member of Congress addressed a letter to President Paul Kagame on December 14 raising what she called serious concerns over the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina, his condition in prison, his health conditions among other allegations.
In a letter signed by Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye on December 16, Rwanda responds: “This letter serves to inform you that Rwanda’s justice system is independent, that Paul Rusesabagina is under the authorities and directions of the judiciary, and further, according to Rwanda’s National Public Prosecution Authority(NPPA) that his arrest and ongoing trial were, and are based on key facts he has not disputed to date and most of which are readily available in the public domain.”
The letter further reiterated what Rwanda Investigation Bureau(RIB) and NPPA have earlier clarified be it in court and to media, that “Paul Rusesabagina was not neither kidnapped nor extradited. He departed Dubai voluntarily by private jet and when his plane landed in Rwanda and he voluntarily alighted, he was placed under arrest pursuant to a 2018 NPPA arrest warrant.”
Rwanda further reminded that NPPA has charged Paul Rusesabagina alongside 18 other suspects with over nine serious charges including the formation of an irregular armed group, membership of a terrorist group, financing terrorism, murder as an act of terrorism, abduction as an act of terrorism, armed robbery as an act of terrorism, arson as an act of terrorism, attempted murder as an act of terrorism, and assault and battery as an act of terrorism.
“Court has scheduled their trial to begin on the 26 of January. They will be tried by Rwanda’s High Court Chamber for International Crimes and Cross-Border Crimes located in Nyanza District, Southern Province,” the letter clarifies.
Rwanda explained to the Member of Congress, that, according to prosecution, Rusesabagina himself was on the record, confirming that he was behind terrorism activities on Rwandan soil back in 2018.
The case here was in December 2018 where according to the letter, Rusesabagina as President of MRCD-Ubumwe and its armed wing FLN/NLF(Force de Liberation Nationale or National Liberation Force), posted a video New Year message onYoutube pledging his full support to NLF and openly called for war on Rwanda.
“The time has come for us to use any means possible to bring about change,” the letter quoted Rusesabagina’s Youtube message.
“The NPPA asserts that MRCD/FLN thereafter led and claimed responsibility for several terror attacks in Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru and Nyungwe forest, southern Rwanda in 2018 killing 9 people and leaving many others wounded,” the letter reads.
“It has also set on fire and destroyed the local population’s property and infrastructure including a local cooperative building, cars, motorbikes, among others.”
The letter reminded the NPPA’s 2010 arrest warrant against Rusesabagina following evidence on his funding FDLR, an internationally recognized terror organization whose sole objective is to wreak and destabilize Rwanda from the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The member of congress had claimed that Rusesabagina’s health condition causes concern, but Rwanda responded that “Paul Rusesabagina is in good health and has regular access to medical care by professionals, a fact his family members whom he regularly speaks to are aware of.”
“As a dual citizen of both Rwanda and Belgium and Resident of the United States, he receives consular visits of both US and Belgium Embassies whenever such visits have been requested, a fact you may verify.”
Ms Carolyn B Maloney was also told that Rusesabagina is represented by a council of his own choosing, and that, like any Rwandan citizen, his right to a free and fair trial is guaranteed and protected by the constitution.