Hotel Rwanda hero who saved 1,200 lives arrested on terror charges

Hotel Rwanda hero who saved 1,200 lives during country’s 1994 genocide and was played by Don Cheadle in the film is arrested on terror charges

  • Paul Rusesabagina, 66, is a well-known critic of President Paul Kagame
  • There was an international arrest warrant for him for crimes including terrorism
  • Police announced his arrest on Monday but he’s not been charged in court yet

A hero who saved 1,200 lives during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and was played by Don Cheadle in the film Hotel Rwanda is arrested on terror charges.  

Paul Rusesabagina, 66, who was portrayed as a hero in the film, has been arrested by the Rwandan government on terror charges, police announced on Monday. 

A well-known critic of President Paul Kagame, Rusesabagina had been living outside Rwanda since 1996 but police did not say where he was apprehended. 

He had been living in Belgium and then in Texas, USA. 

A hero who saved 1,200 lives during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and was played by Don Cheadle in the film Hotel Rwanda is arrested on terror charges

Mr Rusesabagina, was shown to the press in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, on Monday by police wearing handcuffs and a face mask.

He has not been formally charged in court yet.

Police said in a statement that Mr Rusesabagina had been arrested ‘through international cooperation’.  

They said: ‘Rusesabagina is suspected to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits including the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) operating out of various places in the region and abroad,’ police said.

 In the 2004 film ‘Hotel Rwanda’, Mr Rusesabagina used his influence as a manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines, to shelter more than 1,200 Tutsis in the hotel’s rooms

There was an international arrest warrant for Mr Rusesabagina to answer charges of serious crimes including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder.

These were perpetrated against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory, police said. 

Police told the media in Kigali that investigations against him will continue and more information will be released about his alleged activities.

Mr Rusesabagina has previously denied the government’s charges that he financially supports Rwandan rebels.

He has been a prominent critic of Kagame’s government, calling it a dictatorship and urging Western countries to press the government to respect human rights.

 Mr Rusesabagina, was shown to the press in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, on Monday by police wearing handcuffs and a face mask

Government supporters reject his criticism, saying Kagame’s leadership supports democracy and economic growth.

Mr Rusesabagina was awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.

The Rwandan government disputes his story about saving survivors at a hotel in Kigali during the genocide.

More than 800,000 Tutsi and Hutus who tried to protect them were killed by Hutus. 

 Mr Rusesabagina was awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005

In the 2004 film ‘Hotel Rwanda’, Mr Rusesabagina used his influence as a manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines, to shelter more than 1,200 Tutsis in the hotel’s rooms.

Mr Rusesabagina, a Hutu who is married to a Tutsi, was played by actor Don Cheadle in the movie.

Naphatal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of Ibuka, a Rwanda survivors’ organization, said that Mr Rusesabagina’s arrest is good news for survivors of the genocide. 

Mr Ahishakiye said Mr Rusesabagina had charged people money to be able to survive in the hotel.  

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