Paul Rusesabagina whose heroism inspired the 2004 Oscar nominated film “Hotel Rwanda”, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison by a Rwandan court for terrorism.
You would recall that the film “Hotel Rwanda” is based on the Rwandan genocide which occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the Rwanda civil war.
During this period of about 100 days, members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate Hutu and Twa ethnic groups were slaughtered by armed militias.
The most widely accepted scholarly estimates are around 1,100,000 deaths of which members of the Tutsi ethnic group accounted for between 500,000 to 800,000 of the record.
The film “Hotel Rwanda” was adapted from the life of Rusesabagina, who is a politician and a hotelier.
In the “Hotel Rwanda” film Rusesabagina whose role was played by Don Cheadle was potrayed as a hotel manager who saved the lives of about 1,000 refugees by providing them with shelter in the Hôtel des Mille Collines.
After being portrayed in the 2004 film, Rusesabagina emerged as a major critic of the rule of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
The politician, who was initially hailed for his acts during the genocide, went from celebrated figure to state enemy.
Rusesabagina was consequently arrested in August 2020 and tried for charges of terrorism, arson, kidnapping, and murder of Rwandans.
He was found guilty of backing a rebel group in a series of attacks that killed nine civilians back in 2018.
He was also convicted of forming an illegal armed group, membership in a terrorist group, and financing terrorism.
The 67-year-old had earlier denied all charges, stating that he was abducted from Dubai this year to be put on trial.
His family and supporters had also called the trial a “sham,” accusing Kagame of treating his political opponents ruthlessly.