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Paul Rusesabagina, the man who saved over 1,200 people from genocide and inspired the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” was found guilty of terror-related offenses, the Associated Press reported Monday. He was charged with 20 other people and, the outlet said, boycotted the announcement and said he didn’t expect justice, calling the trial a “sham.”
Per the AP, Rusesabagina has been convicted of forming an illegal armed group, being a member of a terrorist group and financing a terror group. He is awaiting a verdict on other charges of murder, abduction and armed robbery as an act of terrorism.
Rusesabagina, who has maintained his innocence, is accused of supporting the armed wing of his opposition political platform, Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change. He disappeared last year while visiting Dubai, but was charged after reappearing in Rwanda. His family said he was kidnapped and brought to the country against his will, though the court said he was not kidnapped, but tricked into boarding a chartered flight.
The Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change has claimed some responsibility for 2018 and 2019 attacks that left nine people dead.
This is not Rusesabagina’s first brush with terror-related offenses; he was accused in 2010 of funding terrorism activities and was implicated in the case against Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire. That came six years after “Hotel Rwanda” told the story of how he used his connections with the Hutu elite to protect Tutsis and moderate Hutus fleeing militiamen during the country’s 1994 genocide. As the movie, starring Don Cheadle as Rusesabagina, showed, he was a hotel manager at the time. Former President George W. Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.