Unsurprisingly, Paul Rusesabagina was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday, September 20, by the Kigali Tribunal. On trial since February, the former manager of the Hôtel des Mille Collines, who became a fierce opponent of President Paul Kagame, was found guilty of supporting a “terrorist” group which “attacked people in their homes, in their cars”, in the words of Judge Béatrice Mukamurenzi.
While Paul Rusesabagina confirmed his participation in the creation of the National Liberation Forces (FLN), the armed wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) responsible for attacks that killed nine people in 2018 and 2019 in the southwest of Rwanda, he rejected any involvement in these crimes.
Since March, the 67-year-old opponent, who appeared with 17 other defendants, boycotted the court hearings with his lawyers, denouncing a “political” trial made possible by his “kidnapping” by the Rwandan authorities.
According to the indictment drafted by the attorney general of the Kigali court, Paul Rusesabagina was charged with nine counts relating to acts of terrorism. In the investigation, carried out by Rwanda in collaboration with the Belgian judicial authorities, he appears as the founder and “one of the main financiers of the FLN”, which he admits to having “supported up to 20,000 euros”.