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World 'Hotel Rwanda' hero says he was duped into coming to Rwanda, NYT reports

12:45  18 september  2020
12:45  18 september  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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By Clement Uwiringiyimana

Paul Rusesabagina wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Rusesabagina is detained and paraded in front of media in handcuffs in Kigali © Reuters/CLEMENT UWIRINGIYIMANA FILE PHOTO: Rusesabagina is detained and paraded in front of media in handcuffs in Kigali

KIGALI (Reuters) - Paul Rusesabagina, depicted in a Hollywood movie as a hero who helped save Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide, said he believed he was flying to Burundi at the invitation of a pastor, but was instead lured to Rwanda and arrested on terrorism charges.

Rusesabagina was speaking to the New York Times in an interview the paper said had been authorised by the Rwandan government and had taken place in the presence of government officials.

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The 66-year-old political dissident and former hotel manager was propelled to fame after the Oscar-nominated film "Hotel Rwanda" portrayed him using his connections with the Hutu elite to protect Tutsis fleeing slaughter during the 1994 genocide.

He had been living in exile for more than a decade, where he was a prominent critic of President Paul Kagame, accusing him of stifling political opposition.

Rusesabagina suddenly appeared in custody in Rwanda earlier this month, prompting accusations from his family that he had been kidnapped. But he says he voluntarily boarded a private plane in Dubai that he believed was bound for Bujumbura, Burundi, where he had planned to speak to churches at the invitation of a local pastor.

Instead, he landed in Kigali, where he now faces 13 charges, including terrorism, complicity in murder and forming or joining an irregular armed group.

A spokesman for the prosecution on Wednesday told Reuters that Rusesabagina, who once called for armed resistance to the government in a YouTube video, faces a possible life sentence.

He was denied bail on Thursday and will stay in jail for 30 days as the prosecution ends its investigations.

(Editing by Katharine Houreld and Gareth Jones)

Hotel Rwanda 'hero' admits forming armed group behind attacks .
Paul Rusesabagina, the polarising hero of the hit movie "Hotel Rwanda," admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had helped form an armed group but denied any role in its crimes. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy," he said in court Friday.Rusesabagina is famed for his depiction by Don Cheadle in the 2004 film in which a moderate Hutu is shown as saving hundreds of lives at a luxury hotel during the 1994 genocide, which left some 800,000, mostly Tutsi, dead.

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