A Rwandan court has Thursday ordered for the continued detention in a prison facility of humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, whose story of saving more than 1000 people during the Rwandan Genocide inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda. He will be held for 30 days pending the start of hearing his case in substance.
Rusesabagina on Monday 14th appeared before court where he was charged with 13 counts that included Terrorism, arson, robbery among others.
He declined to respond to all the charges, saying some did not qualify as criminal offenses adding that he denied the accusations when he was questioned by Rwandan investigators.
If found guilty, Rusesabagina could face a maximum of 25 years in prison.
The 66-year-old asked to be released on bail, citing poor health that has caused him to be taken to hospital three times in the time that he has been held in Rwanda.
“Like my lawyers have said, I am sick and in need of constant medical care. In the past two weeks, I have been to the hospital three times. I request for bail and I guarantee the court that I will not flee from justice,” Rusesabagina told court on Monday
In her ruling, the presiding judge, Dorothy Yankurije ruled that he be kept in a prison facility so as to ensure that he does not sabotage ongoing investigation in his case.
“Basing on the gravity of the trial, we found there is reasonable ground to keep him in custody, therefore this court finds it necessary that Rusesabagina is provisionally detained in a prison facility for 30 days,” the judge ruled.
Rusesabagina told the court that he was appealing against the court’s decision.
In Court Rusesabagina is represented by lawyers David Rugaza and Ameline Nyembo, whom the family say have been imposed on him by the state.
Rusesabagina a longtime critic of Rwanda’s strongman Paul Kagame has lived in exile between Belgium and the US, where he created his foundation to promote the reconciliation of Rwanda and prevent further genocides.
On the 31st Rusesabagina was paraded by the Investigations Bureau after his disappearance from Dubai. His family has maintained that he was kidnapped from Dubai and forced on a Private jet to Kigali.
President Paul Kagame while appearing on the national broadcaster said Rusesabagina was brought to the country legally.
“Let me eliminate the word kidnap. There was no kidnap, there was no wrongdoing in the process of his getting here, the process of getting him here Rwanda was flawless as he will attest in the coming days,” Kagame said.
Amnesty International on Monday said Rwandan authorities must come clear and explain circumstances under which he ended up in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.
“The authorities must come clean on the circumstances of his arrest, and exactly what transpired between Thursday 27 August when he spoke to his family after arriving in Dubai, and Monday 31 August, when he was paraded in front of the media in Kigali. Assuming he was in detention during this time and the Rwandan authorities concealed information on his whereabouts, this amounts to an enforced disappearance.” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa said.