June 2, 2023

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‘Hotel Rwanda’ boss freed Saturday: “result of desire to restart US-Rwanda ties” | Abroad

Belgian Rwandan Paul Rusesabagina, known for the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and sentenced to 25 years in prison for “terrorism”, is set free on Saturday. Rwandan Justice Minister Emmanuel Ugrashebuja told Bloomberg News. The release is part of a desire to “reset” relations with the United States, writes government spokeswoman Stephanie Niombaire on Twitter.

It was known earlier that Rusesabagina’s prison sentence was “softened”. This comes after Russabakhina apologized in a letter to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Nineteen convicts, including former youth minister Calixte Nasabimana, will also be acquitted.

“Let no one be under any illusion about what this means. “There is a consensus that serious crimes were committed and they were punished for that,” said government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo. “Under Rwandan law, mitigation does not destroy fundamental trust.”


“This is the result of a shared desire to restart relations between the United States and Rwanda,” Stephanie Niembeyer wrote on Twitter.

Russabakhina’s conviction fueled resentment between Washington and Kigali. In May 2022, the United States declared that Rusepakhina was being held “illegally”. Rwandan President Paul Kagame responded that the US could not “threaten” him.

In addition, bilateral relations were affected by Rwandan support for a rebel group that was making the eastern part of the Congo insecure.

After her release, Rusabagina would leave Rwanda and travel to the United States. Before that, he will first be stationed in Qatar, the Qatari government said.

A spokesperson for Rusebagina’s family told CNN they were happy with the news of her release and “hope to be reunited with her soon.”

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‘Hotel Rwanda’

Rusabagina, 68, has been in prison since August 2020 after she was arrested under suspicious circumstances when she disembarked from a flight she believed was bound for Burundi.

Rusesabagina became famous through the 2004 film ‘Hotel Rwanda’, which tells how a moderate Hutu who ran the Hotel Mille Collins saved more than a thousand people during the 1994 genocide. According to the United Nations, 800,000 people were killed, mostly Tutsis. Minority.

He has been in exile in the United States and Belgium since 1996, before his arrest in Kigali in August 2020 under suspicious circumstances when he disembarked a flight he believed was bound for Burundi.

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