Rusesabagina Sees No Reason to Appeal the Results of His Sham Trial

CHICAGO – Jan. 18, 2022 – PRLog — The Court of Appeal in Rwanda heard an appeal on Monday, January 17 from the prosecution on the judgment against Paul Rusesabagina and his co-accused. The prosecution has argued that a 25 year sentence is not sufficient punishment for a 68 year old prisoner who is in poor health, and is asking the Court of Appeal to impose a life sentence.

For his part, Rusesabagina did not appear in court and will not participate in a staged appeal of a political prisoner. In the early stages of his trial in March, 2021, Rusesabagina withdrew from the proceedings. At the time, he sent a letter to the judges that: “Informed the court that he will not come back to court because he will not find justice in these proceedings and his rights won’t be respected.” Since that point, Rusesabagina’s fair trial rights have continued to be violated by the Rwandan government at every turn.

Rusesabagina’s legal team and international observers argue that the trial was a sham, with a clearly politicized verdict. The judges chose to convict Rusesabagina on 8 of 9 counts, even though there was no credible evidence presented about the attacks in questions, or about his involvement in any planning, funding or coordination of these attacks.

British barrister Mr Geoffrey Robertson QC, the independent expert appointed by the Clooney Foundation for Justice to monitor this case, issued a  statement after the verdict in a Trial Watch report. He noted that:

“Mr. Rusesabagina’s trial entailed severe violations of his fair trial rights and had the hallmarks of a “judicial spectacle.” Among other procedural flaws, the Rwandan authorities violated Mr. Rusesabagina’s right to confidential communication with a lawyer, his right to adequate facilities to prepare for trial, and his right to the presumption of innocence.

“This was a show trial, rather than a fair judicial inquiry,” said Geoffrey Robertson QC, the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch expert on the case.  “The prosecution evidence against him was unveiled but not challenged.

“Given Mr. Rusesabagina’s age and poor health, this severe sentence is likely to be a death sentence.”

Rusesabagina lawyer Kate Gibson argues that: “Although Mr Rusesabagina’s conviction is undermined by manifest legal and factual errors, he is not engaging in the appeal process. He withdrew from the trial because of the systematic violations of his rights as an accused, and he has no expectation of anything improving on appeal. Indeed, Paul’s lawyers still aren’t even allowed to bring him a single document in the prison, with confidential legal memos still being confiscated by the prison authorities. No fair appeal process could possibly start on this basis.”  “

In addition, the Rwandan government continued to violate Rusesabagina’s rights after the verdict. In this case, he had 30 days following the verdict to appeal, but the government did not provide him or his lawyers with the written conviction until 28 days into the process. This would have allowed him a total of 2 days to file an appeal, but in addition his lawyers are not allowed to bring written documentation into or out of the prison when they visit him. Thus even if it was desirable, an appeal was nearly physically impossible.

Paul Rusesabagina and his family continue to appeal to the international community to put pressure on Rwandan to stop this farce. The fact that the government is appealing it’s own effective life sentence to seek even more time in jail should be seen as nothing but adding insult to injury. It continues to show that this is not a legal process, but rather an ongoing political process to embarrass and defame a human rights critic of the regime, Paul Rusesabagina.


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One thought on “Rusesabagina Sees No Reason to Appeal the Results of His Sham Trial

  1. Paul Rusesabagina is not only a victim of kidnapping, brutality, and violation of accepted norms of prisoner treatment and trials. He is also a victim of “empty” words of support.

    Nothing short of “actions” by governments can have any affect on the restoration of basic human rights to this great man.

    Demands by governmental entities have been made on behalf of Paul Rusesabagina. Were those demands only words?

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