Rwanda: 'Hotel Rwanda' Hero Paul Rusesabagina Arrested On Terrorism Charges

Paul Rusesabagina

Rusesabagina's role in saving refugees during the 1994 genocide inspired an Oscar-nominated film. He has more recently been known for his criticism of the Rwandan government.

Rwandan investigators said Monday they had arrested Paul Rusesabagina -- the man who was hailed a hero in a Hollywood movie about the country's 1994 genocide -- on charges of terrorism.

Two police officers brought Rusesabagina, 66, to the headquarters of the Rwanda Investigations Bureau. It was unclear where Rusesabagina was arrested, as he had been living in Belgium and then in the US state of Texas.

Rusesabagina, who wore a facemask and was in handcuffs, did not speak. He has in the past said he is the victim of a smear campaign in Rwanda, particularly after voicing his dissent with the government in the landlocked African country.

President Paul Kagame marked two decades of rule in Rwanda earlier this year. While praised by some as a pioneer for women's rights and environmentalism, Kagame has been criticized by others, including Rusesabagina, for his iron grip on power.

Suspected links to terrorism, not yet formally charged

He has not, however, been formally charged in court.

"Through international cooperation, the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation wants to inform the general public that Paul Rusesabagina has been arrested," police said in a statement.

"Rusesabagina is suspected of being a founder or a leader or sponsor or member of violent armed extremist terror outfits ... operating out of various places in the region and abroad," the investigation bureau's spokesman, Thierry Murangira, told reporters.

The spokesman said Rusesabagina would face several charges, such as "terrorism, financing terrorism ... arson, kidnap and murder" relating to incidents against his own countrymen on Rwandan soil in June and December 2018.

Authorities did not immediately release further information about the charges against Rusesabagina, but said further details would be made available in the coming days.

Genocide portrayed in Oscar nominated movie

During the 1994 genocide, as manager of the Hotel des Diplomates in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, Rusesabagina used his influence and connections to shelter 1,268 Tutsis and moderate Hutus from being slaughtered by the Interahamwe militia.

His actions were subsequently portrayed in the 2004 acclaimed film "Hotel Rwanda," where he was played by the American actor Don Cheadle.

(AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

Suspected links to terrorism, not yet formally charged

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