Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has accused Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who saved the lives of more than 1,000 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, a terrorist leader.
Kagame stated this at a news conference.
He added that Rusesabagina was leading “a group of terrorists that have killed Rwandans.”
Rusesabagina, 66, became famous for sheltering Tutsis at the Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali. He later helped them escape, a story told in the 2004 Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda.”
However, some government officials and survivors have disputed this account.
“Rusesabagina has blood of Rwandans on his hands. He will have to pay for these crimes,” the Rwandan president said.
Kagame said during the news conference that Rusesabagina would get a fair trial.
Meanwhile, Rusesabagina’s family say the charges are fabricated and that he became a target in the past years for criticizing the Rwandan government, his daughter, Carine Kanimba, told dpa.
Rusesabagina was arrested on terrorism charges last week. His family and lawyer have not been able to see him. Rusesabagina is a vocal government critic and said to lead the MRCD; a grouping of political parties in exile opposed to the Rwandan government.
The MRCD has an armed group, the FLN, which is fighting the government of Rwanda. He has been accused of carrying out attacks near the border with Burundi. During the 1994 genocide, more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
Kagame is lauded for bringing stability and economic development to the country after the civil war; though he also limited civil freedoms and cracked down on the opposition.