CHICAGO – October 1st –The sham trial of Paul Rusesabagina ended on September 20th, when he was found guilty on eight of nine charges. The guilty verdict was no surprise to his family and team, since this trial was clearly political from the start. The result was always pre-ordained.
It has been clear throughout the trial that there was no credible evidence presented. This lack of evidence was crystalized in the verdict, which relied heavily on Paul’s written statement, made shortly after his kidnapping in August 2020, after four days of torture and without a lawyer present. This statement was based on a litany of demands made by a Rwandan Investigative Bureau agent, and Paul denied and denounced the statement later in court.
In a highly irregular move, the written judgement was not released for ten days. The judges did read the full judgement in court, which suggests that the delay is another tactic to limit Paul’s rights to an appeal.
As for any pending appeal, Paul would need to be able to read his judgement and give instructions to his legal team before a decision can be made. The written judgement was just released yesterday. Paul has not yet seen it. His Rwandan lawyers are still unable to bring him any documents in jail or even to take any notes of their conversations with him. At this time we doubt that Paul will ever be able to read his judgement, or be able to make an informed decision on whether or not to exercise his right to appeal. He has 30 days from the date of notification
of the judgement in which to do so, now 20 days from the time the judgement was published.
The single main concern remains Paul’s health, and securing his immediate humanitarian release. He is still suffering daily symptoms linked to the deprivation of his prescription hypertension medication (which was provided by the Belgian Embassy in Kigali in September 2020 and still not given to Paul.)
Although he is in remission from cancer, he has not received a cancer screening since his incarceration began more than a year ago.