Zambia News

Paul Rusesabagina: Liberation of Hotel Rwanda Hero

A former hotel manager who was portrayed as a hero in the Hollywood movie Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, has been freed from a Kigali prison.

In what his supporters referred to as a sham trial, he was given a 25-year prison term for terrorism by a Rwandan court two years ago.

The sentence of Mr. Rusesabagina had been “commuted by presidential decree,” according to a government official.

Some 1,200 people are said to have been saved by Mr. Rusesabagina, 68, during the 1994 genocide.

The announcement of his release was described as a “good result” by US President Joe Biden.

In a statement, he added, “Paul’s family is excited to welcome him back to the United States, and I share their excitement at today’s good news.”

Years of diplomatic pressure and negotiations mediated by Qatar were necessary to secure Mr. Rusesabagina’s release.

He had resided in the United States since 2009, where there was a lot of strain. According to the Biden administration, he was “wrongfully detained.”

His family claims that in 2020, the Rwandan government enticed him back to Rwanda from Texas, where he had a permanent address.

In 1996, Mr. Rusesabagina fled Rwanda. For the ten years he worked as a taxi driver in the Belgian metropolis of Brussels, his story was mostly unknown.

Although it was included in a portion of journalist Philip Gourevitch’s 1998 book about the genocide, it was Don Cheadle’s portrayal of him in the 2004 Hollywood film that made him famous around the world.

After 800,000 people, predominantly of the Tutsi ethnic group, were massacred by fanatics from the Hutu community in April 1994, the Rwandan genocide lasted 100 days.

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