Rwanda: Rusesabagina's Appeal Hearing Adjourned Again

20 November 2020

The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on Friday, November 20, adjourned the appeal hearing of Paul Rusesabagina to next week, Friday, November 27.

This is the third time the court pushed the hearing at the request of the accused.

Rusesabagina is one of the 18 suspects whose indictment was last week submitted to the High Court, faces a list of terror-related charges.

He seeks to challenge a decision by the Kicukiro Primary Court last month to remand him for additional 30 days as had been requested by the prosecution.

The suspect attended Friday's session online, from Nyarugenge Prison where he is being detained.

The hearing was also attended by two prosecutors and Rusesabagina's lawyer Gatera Gashabana who was pleading for his client for the first time after Rusesabagina's former pro bono lawyers were recalled by Rwanda Bar Association.

"I request court to allow me to first meet my lawyer in person so that we discuss the case," Rusesabagina told the court.

Backing the request, his lawyer Gashabana also pleaded that the hearing be adjourned, noting that he arrived in the country on Wednesday evening and went in quarantine, and therefore hadn't been able to meet his client.

Opposing the request, prosecution said that this was a deliberate way to delay the hearing due to the fact that "this hearing has been postponed two times already on reasons of the absence of the lawyer."

Pronouncing himself on the request, the judge said that "it is the right of the accused to meet his lawyer."

Prosecution has said that much as the investigations have been concluded and submitted the final indictment, they still want the suspect to remain in custody on the basis of the seriousness of the charges he faces.

Rusesabagina is one of the 18 suspects linked to MRCD-FLN and faces several charges linked to terrorism committed mainly in southwestern Rwanda.

At least nine people were killed during the attacks.

Rusesabagina was the subject of at least two International Arrest Warrants; in 2010 for membership of or financing the FDLR and in 2018 for the FLN terror attacks.

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