Charges Against Hotel Rwanda Hero Are Fake: Daughter

Paul Rusesabagina is being held in Rwanda after leaving US for Dubai
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2020 12:03 AM CDT
Hotel Rwanda Hero Was Kidnapped: Daughter
In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005 file photo provided by the White House, President Bush, left, and first lady Laura Bush, 2nd right, meet with Paul Rusesabagina, center-right, and his wife, Tatiana, right, in the Oval Office.   (Eric Draper/The White House via AP)

Paul Rusesabagina, whose story of saving more than 1,200 Rwandans during the 1994 genocide was told in Hotel Rwanda, was kidnapped, his daughter tells the New York Times. The Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient now faces terror charges in Rwanda, and his daughter says he traveled from the US, where he is a permanent resident, to Dubai for what was supposed to be a short meeting, texting family members upon his landing last Thursday to tell them he'd gotten there safely. The next time they heard from or of him was when Rwandan authorities showed him handcuffed in the capital of Kigali on Monday. "We were shocked and surprised," she says, claiming her father was "kidnapped" and taken into custody because of his well-known criticism of the Rwandan government and President Paul Kagame, who has cracked down on dissent.

The Times notes some have questioned his legacy, with one professor noting, "It’s well known in Kigali that Rusesabagina handed over some Tutsi to the Hutu militias and made a considerable profit by demanding protection money from some survivors." Officials have not said anything more about the accusations against Rusesabagina, 66, since Monday. It's not clear how he got from Dubai to Kigali, nor when he might appear in court. "He wanted to speak for the people whose voices were suppressed," his daughter says. "It’s time for the world and international community to speak up for him." "What they’re accusing him of is all made up," she adds to the AP. "There is no evidence to what they’re claiming … We know this is a wrongful arrest." (More Rwanda stories.)

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