Paul Rusesabagina’s Health Deteriorates in Rwandan Prison

For Immediate Release

March 3, 2022
Contact: Kitty Kurth
Phone: 312-617-7288

Paul Rusesabagina’s Health Deteriorates in Rwandan Prison

Paul Rusesabagina, now illegally detained in Rwanda for 553 days, appears to have suffered partial facial paralysis which is impairing his speech, following his complaints of ongoing weakness and severe pain in his arm and jaw. He needs treatment NOW and a medical evacuation may be necessary to save his life.

This is now a crisis situation. There is no doubt that the mental and physical harm inflicted on Rusesabagina, which includes four days of physical torture and starvation in August 2020, and 250 days of solitary confinement in Rwanda’s Mageragere Prison, will now have a permanent impact on his state of health and remaining quality of life. 

Paul Rusesabagina needs treatment immediately. He and his family cannot trust or rely on the government that kidnapped and tortured him to provide proper medical care. Paul’s daughter Anaise Kanimba noted that “our family appreciates the past interventions of both the US and Belgian consular authorities, but more needs to be done.”

Rusesabagina is a cancer survivor and heart/hypertension patient. The prescription medication that he needs to regulate his condition was given by the Belgian Embassy in Rwanda to the Rwandan authorities just after his arrest in September 2020. Rwandan prison authorities have refused to give this medication to him. His deteriorating health condition appears to be the result. He has already experienced dizziness and lightheadedness for over nine months. 

The proceedings against Rusesabagina in Rwanda, criticized by the Belgium and the United States Governments and organizations around the world as having systematically violated his rights, have now concluded. His immediate humanitarian release, and urgent medical treatment is now a matter of life and death. 

We urge the international community, particularly the United States and Belgium, to step in. 

Paul Rusesabagina is an international human rights icon whose story of saving 1,268 people during the Rwandan Genocide was told in the film Hotel Rwanda. In late August 2020, he was kidnapped and flown against his will from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Kigali, Rwanda. Rusesabagina was tortured, held in solitary confinement for months, and subjected to a sham trial. It is time for the international community to demand his immediate release. 



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