Court Upholds Jailterm For Rwanda Hotel Convict

A policeman handcuffs Paul Rusesabagina, (AP Photo/Muhizi Olivier)

An appeal court in Rwanda has upheld the 25 year-prison sentence of Paul Rusesabagina as it declared him guilty on terror charges.

The subject of the Hollywood movie about the Rwandan genocide, Hotel Rwanda, Rusesabagina has boycotted court proceedings since March 2021, saying they were unfair.

The prosecution had requested that his sentence be increased to life in prison but this was rejected.

The court reduced the sentence of Callixte Nsabimana, known as “Sankara”, the former spokesperson of the FLN rebel group linked to Rusesabagina, from 20 to 15 years.

The court said the two were guilty of deadly attacks conducted by the rebel group in south-west Rwanda in 2019, but that Nsabimana had apologised and cooperated with the court during trial. 

Rusesabagina was tricked into a private jet from Dubai to Kigali in August 2020, arrested and paraded to media before the trial against him.

The appeal court has also upheld the sentences of another 19 co-accused, mostly former FLN members.

Rusesabagina’s relatives who live in Belgium and the US have condemned his rendition and trial in Rwanda.

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