EU urged to push for Hotel Rwanda hero’s release

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The European parliament has condemned the conviction of Paul Rusesabagina and called for the European Union to work towards securing his release.

The hero of the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda was sentenced last month to 25 years in jail for terrorism charges related to deadly rebel attacks in 2018 and 2019 in Rwanda.

Mr Rusesabagina, 67, denied any link to the attacks but admitted funding the rebels before he pulled out of his trial in March.

The EU parliament’s non-binding resolution on Thursday called for Rusesabagina’s “immediate release on humanitarian grounds” and urged the EU delegation to Rwanda to “convey this request” to the Rwandan authorities.

“It is our responsibility to protect his fundamental rights. Rights that have been violated by Rwandan authorities,” Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt told the parliament.

Rwanda’s former chief prosecutor Martin Ngoga responded on Twitter: “It is out of order that victims have no place in your statement and considerations.”

In an interview with France 24 in May, Rwandan President Paul Kagame condemned foreign accusations that Rusesabagina’s trial had not been fair.

“It is like the only thing being fair in Rwanda or in Africa – it has to be supervised by Europe, US or some place. No,” Mr Kagame said.

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