PEN America Says Rwanda’s Rusesabagina Denied Fair Trial
Guilty verdict today comes amid allegations of mistreatment, lack of due process against critic of Rwanda's government
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(New York, NY) — A court in Rwanda Monday found Paul Rusesabagina guilty of forming and funding a terrorist group. Earlier this summer, PEN America expressed alarm at the trial and apparent mistreatment of Rusesabagina, author of An Ordinary Man whose experience amid the Rwandan genocide was depicted in the film Hotel Rwanda. He has repeatedly spoken out against Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
PEN America’s Summer Lopez, senior director of free expression programs, said the following in response to Monday’s guilty verdict:
“The only thing of which there is clear evidence in Rusesabagina’s case is that he was denied a fair trial. The circumstances of his alleged kidnapping and mistreatment during detention have made clear from the beginning that this process was a politically motivated sham, and nothing more than another chapter in the Rwandan government’s disgraceful history of silencing dissent.”
Rusesabagina was reportedly lured onto a private jet in Dubai in August 2020 that was secretly bound for Kigali, where he was tried for murder, arson, and terrorism. Recent statements from his family allege he faced grave mistreatment in prison, and has been deprived of access to food and even water.