Paul Rusesabagina, the founder of, the National Liberation Front (FLN), the armed wing of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) coalition, is set to benefit from presidential clemency, which will commute his 25-year sentence, in a decision to be made this Friday.
Rusesabagina, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison by the High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes after he was found guilty on charges related to terrorism, in September 2021, a sentence later affirmed by the Court of Appeal in April 2022, in a letter dated October 14, 2022, wrote to President Kagame seeking for clemency.
KT Press has learnt that the decision will be affirmed by a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Friday, March 24, 2023. Rusesabagina’s release will be part of a deal brokered by Qatar. The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is said to have played a key role in the developments.
In the letter seen by KT Press, Rusabagina regrets his actions and those of the groups he led, MRCD/FLN, but he doesn’t categorically apologise for his crimes. He however denounced violence as a means of attaining political power and says he regrets the pain caused by FLN.
If released, Rusesabagina promised to abandon political activities and spend his life in “quiet reflection” in the US, where he is resident.
In an interview earlier this month with American news outlet Semafor, President Kagame said that there were ongoing efforts to resolve the Rusesabagina situation pointing out that Rwanda is a country that has forgiven genocide convicts and his case will not be any different.
“We’re not people who want to get stuck in one place and not make any movement forward. There is a discussion looking at all possible ways of resolving that issue without compromising the most fundamental aspects of that case and I think there’s always going to be a way forward,” President Kagame said during an interview at the Global Security Forum in Doha, Qatar, on March 13.
By press time, it was understood that a cabinet meeting was convened to discuss the release of Rusesabagina and his co-accused, Callixte Nsabimana, alias Sankara, who was sentenced to 20 years and later had his sentence reduced to 15 years by the appeals court, will also be among the beneficiaries.
Efforts to get comment from the Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, or her deputy Allain Mukularinda were futile by press time.
More details to follow…….