Rwanda’s court refuses to extend Paul Rusbagina’s sentence

Nairobi, Kenya – A Rwandan court on Monday rejected a prosecutor’s attempt to extend the 25-year sentence of Paul Rosenbagina, the hotel angry, whose story was presented in the Oscar-nominated movie “Hotel Rwanda”. In jail General Chat Chat Lounge

Mr Rosenbagina was convicted in September in a legal case of murder, kidnapping and belonging to a terrorist group that has been widely condemned by human rights groups.

He declined to take part in the appeal trial, rejecting it as a fraud, prosecutors said, adding that the sentences he and 20 others received were too severe. But in the end, the court ruled against the prosecution, finding that the current conviction was “according to the weight of his crime” as the first offender.

Kate Gibson, Mr. Rosenbagina’s legal counsel, said the decision was a bit of satisfaction. “What we are seeing is the end of a long process of just a shame, so that number itself is not really important,” he said.

Yolande McCullough, Rwanda’s government spokesman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision in the appeal is unlikely to have any practical effect, as Mr Rasabagina is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison – he is 67 years old, has survived cancer and has vascular problems for the heart. His family says his health in prison is deteriorating and he has no access to proper health care.

“Is he sentenced to life imprisonment or 25 years away from our attention?” “

Human rights groups and the family of Mr Rosenbagina say authorities have brought a case to try to convince him to stand with President Paul Kagame’s government, which has banned controversy in Rwanda even after taking office. Helped recover from Breed

Mr Rusesabagina and his lawyers also said that his rights to confidential communications and his ability to prepare for defense were repeatedly violated while he was in prison. In a video sent anonymously to Al Jazeera English last February, Rwanda’s then attorney general and Justice Minister Johnston Busingy admitted to interfering with the discrimination in Mr Rosenbaugina’s case.

The Belgian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, Mr. Russo Bagina, was praised for his role in saving 1,268 people during the 1994 genocide. This story eventually became the basis of the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda” and won Mr. Rusbagina a great reputation and many human and civil rights awards, including the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

Mr Rosenbaumina was living in exile in San Antonio, having moved his family from Belgium because of concerns over his family’s safety after they appeared as Mr Kagame’s most high profile critics in their home. Was stolen multiple times.

In August 2020, he was tempted by Rwandan workers to leave his home and travel to Dubai, before boarding a private jet in the United Arab Emirates, before finally taking him to Cagli, Rwanda’s capital.

Mr Rosenbagina said he was immediately blindfolded and arrested after taking off in Rhonda and, during his first day in custody, was imprisoned and tortured.

Mr Rusesabagina’s subsequent trial and detention was condemned by members of various human rights groups, the European Parliament and the US Congress.

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch said it had overseen trials in Rwanda in 2020 and 2021 in which “judicial authorities followed politically motivated litigation and maintained a culture of intolerance for disagreement.”

The UN Working Group published last month issued a report on arbitrary detention, concluding that Rwanda’s government had abducted and imprisoned Mr Rosenbaugina, and that he was free and unconditional release. Demand.

On Monday, before the verdict was announced, the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which is overseeing the legal proceedings, also released its final report on the case against Mr Rosenbaugina, saying it was “seriously wrong” and international. And the regional fair was a setback to the standard. General Chat Chat Lounge

Jane Pierre Better and Emma Bubola Contribute to reporting.

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