CHICAGO – Aug. 31, 2020 – Paul Rusesabagina, the humanitarian whose true story was told in the movie Hotel Rwanda has been arrested while traveling. “We believe he was kidnapped and taken by extraordinary rendition to Rwanda. He is being held by President Paul Kagame’s government on false charges. Rusesabagina is a regular critic of human rights violations in Rwanda, and the Rwandan government regularly brings false charges against all critics in order to try to silence them,” said a spokesperson for the family.
No one from his family has talked to him. Paul’s family is extremely concerned about his health and well being and is pleading with the international community to get involved, to visit him and make certain that he is safe, and to insure his swift release.
Paul Rusesabagina is the real life hero of the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda and the President and Founder of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation.
As portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the film, Rusesabagina saved the lives of more than 1,200 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Rusesabagina served as manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali and bravely risked his life to shelter Hutus and Tutsis who were seeking refuge from the genocide that killed more than 800,000 people. His popular autobiography, An Ordinary Man, was published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. in April 2006.
In order to further the mission of his foundation, Rusesabagina now tours the world speaking about social justice, human rights activism and the lessons learned from the Rwandan genocide, one of the worst tragedies of the 20th century. He has spoken to large organizations of journalists, educators, students, policymakers, business leaders and human rights advocates throughout Europe and the United States. Rusesabagina describes his experiences during the horrific genocide, the terror and the helplessness of the people he sheltered, and the ways in which governments, non-governmental organizations and ordinary people can work together to prevent genocide throughout the world.
In 2000, Paul Rusesabagina received the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity. In 2005 he received the the highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush. That same year, Rusesabagina was also honored with the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award and the Humanitarian Award from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
After receiving these honors, Rusesabagina formed the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/Hotel-Rwanda-Rusesabagina-Founda…)
to help provide a voice to victims of genocide and support peace efforts in Rwanda and throughout the world. What started as a personal mission to teach the lessons of Rwanda has become an international movement to fight genocide throughout the world.
Paul Rusesabagina continues to be the President of the foundation, a 501c3 public not-for-profit charity, based in Chicago Illinois.