CHICAGO – Sep. 4, 2020 – UPDATE: For the second day in a row, Paul Rusesabagina’s lawyer in Kigali was denied access to see him in the jail. The Rwanda Investigation Bureau has said that someone called on behalf of Paul Rusesabagina to say that they had a team of lawyers for him but that is not true. He has had no Consular visits. While the Rwanda Government said that they talked to his sons about visiting him, that is not true. Paul’s wife has called the jail and has not been allowed to talk to him.
Paul Rusesabagina, the humanitarian famous for saving 1,200 refugees during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, whose true story was told in the film Hotel Rwanda, has been arrested while traveling.
“We believe Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped and taken by extraordinary rendition to Rwanda,” said a spokesperson for the family. “We knew he was flying to Dubai for a meeting from San Antonio and return to San Antonio on Tuesday per his flight bookings. (He took Emirates 236 from Chicago to Dubai on Thursday, August 27 and was scheduled to return from Dubai to Chicago on Emirates 235 on Wednesday, September 2 Confirmation JYJQF6. He had a separate itinerary from San Antonio to Chicago and back.) We have read press reports that he got on to a plane that traveled from Dubai to Kigali. We do not know whether he walked on to the plane misled by the destination, or was dragged on to plane. Either way he was a Belgian citizen being taken against his will in to Rwanda. Paul Rusesabagina would never knowingly get on to a plane bound for Kigali.
President Kagame’s forces have attempted to harm Rusesabagina repeatedly over the last fifteen years. Rusesabagina would know that if he went to Kigali he would end up dead, disappeared, or in prison.
Rusesabagina ended up under arrest in Kigali. He is being held by President Paul Kagame’s government on false charges. He 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.
The Rwandan government has been attempting to discredit Rusesabagina since the movie Hotel Rwanda appeared in 2004. He is seen as a famous Rwandan in exile who is embarrassing to Kagame and his authoritarian government. The various charges against Rusesabagina were shown to be false on many occasions, but Rwanda continued to pursue him. Rwandan agents have regularly followed Rusesabagina for over a decade, including invading his home, threatening his life, and frequently attempting to disrupt his public and private speeches.