TIMELINE OF PAUL'S PLIGHT

LEAD UP TO KIDNAPPING (1994-2019)

APRIL 1994

Paul Rusesabagina saves 1268 lives during the Rwandan genocide.

SEPTEMBER 1999

Rusesabagina seeks asylum in Belgium after an assassination attempt. He was granted citizenship in 1999.

DECEMBER 2004

Rusesabagina's story is introduced to millions around the globe through the release of the film Hotel Rwanda.

NOVEMBER 2005
Paul Rusesabagina smiles while wearing a black tuxedo with red bowtie as President George Bush Jr. gives him the Medal of Freedom for his humanitarian work during the Rwandan Genocide.

Rusesabagina receives Presidential Medal of Freedom award.

2015

Rwandan constitution amended to permit Kagame’s presidency until 2034.

2019

Rwandan extradition of Rusesabagina from Belgium, which is refused.

KIDNAPPING AND ILLEGAL DETAINMENT (2020-Present)

AUGUST 2020

27th: Rusesabagina was kidnapped and was the subject of an extraordinary rendition to Rwanda. Believing he was going to Burundi, Mr. Rusesabagina was drugged on the plane, bound, and gagged on landing, and then held for four days in an unknown location. During this time, he was physically tortured.

31st:  Rusesabagina signed a statement agreeing to a series of incriminating propositions put to him by the Rwandan Investigative Bureau (RIB), in the absence of a lawyer.

SEPTEMBER 2020

5th:  Rwandan government lawyers appointed who do not challenge the circumstances of Rusesabagina’s arrest or rendition and who stay in place until November.

6th:  President Kagame says that Rusesabagina is guilty of terrorism and murder, and will pay.

DECEMBER 2020

18th:  First letter from U.S. Congress asking for Rusesabagina’s release.

21st:  Rwandan authorities start confiscating confidential documents from Rusesabagina after legal visit in prison.

FEBRUARY 2021

11th:  EU Parliament resolution calling for investigation into arrest.

25th:  Rwandan Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Johnson Busingye, states on Al-Jazeera that Rwanda paid for the plane involved in the Rusesabagina extradition.

MARCH 2021

12th:  Rusesabagina boycotts his trial after systematic violations of his rights.

MAY 2021

12th:  Rusesabagina released from solitary confinement after 258 days (8.5 months).

19th:  Lantos Foundation files for Magnitsky Sanctions before the U.S. Treasury and State Department.

JUNE 2021

14th:   Rusesabagina’s daughter, Carine Kanimba, attends a meeting with Belgian Forgeing Affairs Minister/ Deputy Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes with Pegasus active on her iPhone.

17th:  Independent trial monitors American Bar Association & Clooney Foundation for Justice report saying fair trial violations will call any verdict into question.

18th:  Second letter from U.S. Congress calling on State Department to ensure Rusesabagina’s release.

24th:  Belgian parliament resolution condemning kidnapping, torture, and solitary confinement calls for reparation.

JULY 2021

19th:  Amnesty International reports of Pegasus surveillance of Carine Kanimba’s phone.

SEPTEMBER 2021

20th:   Rusesabagina is convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

OCTOBER 2021

7th:  EU parliament resolution calling for Rusesabagina’s immediate release.

20th:  Prosecution appeals 25 year sentence and seeks life imprisonment.

DECEMBER 2021

UK parliament APPG on Magnitsky Sanctions recommends sanctions against Rwandan officials on Rusesabagina case.

FEBRUARY 2022

US House Foreign Affairs Committee adopts bi-partisan resolution calling on Paul Rusesabagina's immediate release.

MARCH 2022
Two side by side photos of Paul Rusesabagina wearing a black suit with a red tie and a grey suit without a tie as he wears a mask during Rwandan court proceedings during his illegal detention.

Paul Rusesabagina's family learns that Paul has suffered a stroke, or series of strokes, while the Rwandan authorities continue to deprive him of adequate medical care Health Deteriorates in
a Rwandan Prison.

APRIL 2022

Kerry Kennedy and RFK Human Rights host #FreeRusesabagina: A Panel Discussion to support Paul Rusesabagina, accompanied by the official T-shirt launch of the Represent campaign by Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Doc Rivers, and many others.

***

The UN Working Group for Arbitrary Detention issues an opinion recognizing that Paul Rusesabagina is arbitrarily detained and has called for his immediate release and reparations.

***

The American Bar Association and the Clooney Foundation for Justice, who served as independent monitors of Paul Rusesabagina's trial, published a detailed report on the unfairness of his trial and the politically motivated nature of the charges.

MAY 2022

The US Government formally designates Paul Rusesabagina as “Wrongfully Detained” pursuant to the US Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act.

***

Carine Kanimba, Paul's daughter, had the honor and privilege of speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Oslo, Norway, in late May, a global human rights conference that unites diverse communities worldwide to make the world more peaceful and free. Carine joined the stage for a conversation with Michela Wrong, a seasoned and respected journalist and author with three decades of experience covering the African continent. 

JUNE 2022

Freedom House releases reports exposing Rwanda's practice of transnational repression on US soil to target human rights and democracy activists and highlighting the case of Paul Rusesabagina.

JULY 2022

Daughter of Paul Rusesabagina, Carine Kanimba, testifies before the US House Intelligence Committee on Rwanda’s use of Pegasus Spyware to target US citizens and residents. Congressmen and women questioned the ongoing US funding of Rwanda, which targets democracy advocates like Paul Rusesabagina on US soil.

***

The US House of Representatives adopts resolution H.Res 892, sponsored by Representatives Joaquin Castro and Young Kim, calling on the Republic of Rwanda to immediately release Paul Rusesabagina on humanitarian grounds.

***

Paul Rusesabagina's image appears in a memorial in Washington DC as part of the “Bring them Home” campaign, urging US Government action to bring home wrongfully detained Americans abroad.

***

President Biden generated and signed the executive order. This order expanded and enhanced ways to address the hostage-taking and wrongful detention of Americans abroad but was also meant to deter hostage-taking and wrongful detentions around the world and strengthen efforts to bring unlawfully detained Americans home.

AUGUST 2022

American Bar Association 2022 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL Carine Kanimba spoke on a panel with experts from Access Point, Citizen Lab, Amnesty International Deputy Director Dana Ingleton, Bill Marczak, and Peter Micek, moderated by Senior United State Judge Delissa Ridgeway on the threat that spyware poses to Civil Liberties and Human Rights.

***

US State Secretary Blinken travels to Rwanda to discuss the wrongful detention of Paul Rusesabagina with the Rwandan authorities and commits to continuing to engage with the Rusesabagina family.

***

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation published "Voices For Human Rights: 5 Things to know about Paul Rusesabagina case."

SEPTEMBER 2022

Federal Bar Association - Utah Chapter 17th Annual Tri-State Conference - Midway, Utah  

Carine was a keynoter discussing the campaign to Free Paul Rusesabagina with members of the Federal Bar Association, where she also talked alongside Former prosecutor David Schewendiman.

DECEMBER 2022

Junta per Catalunya passed a resolution in the Spanish Parliament calling for the immediate release of Paul Rusesabagina. The resolution also condemned the kidnapping, detention and conviction of Paul Rusesabagina which violated international law.

***

Carine spoke with members of the European Parliament Cornelia Ernst and Saskia Brickmont on the Committee of Inquiry of spyware at the EU. Discussed how these violations affected the campaign to free Paul Rusesabagina alongside Moroccan Journalist Aboubakr Jamaï, Access Now expert Natalie Krapvia and German journalist Hannes Munzinger to discuss the need for regulating States' use of spyware against civilians.

***

Carine spoke about the wrongful detention of Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda since August 2020. She called for international solidarity from the film world to support her father's liberation at El Festival de Cine y Derechos Humanos de Barcelona (Bracelona Human Rights Film Festival).

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