The hero of “Hotel Rwanda” will be released from Rwandan prison
Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the Hollywood film ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and who was sentenced to prison in Rwanda, has been released from prison after having his sentence commuted by the country’s President, Paul Kagame, following at his request for clemency.
Rusesabagina was convicted of terrorism-related charges in September 2021 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Rusesabagina, who has dual Rwandan and Belgian nationality and resides in the United States, will be released on Saturday March 25, along with 19 other people who had been sentenced with him.
“The commutation of sentence does not extinguish the underlying conviction,” Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said on Friday.
“Rwanda notes the constructive role of the US government in creating the conditions for dialogue on this issue, as well as the facilitation provided by the State of Qatar,” she added.
Rusesabagina was arrested by Rwandan authorities while on an international trip in 2020 in what his family said was a kidnapping.
During his trial in 2021, Rusesabagina was found guilty of being part of a terrorist group called MRCD-FLN. Two 2018 attacks in which nine people died have received particular attention, according to a government statement.
Prior to his conviction and imprisonment, Rusesabagina was a vocal critic of President Kagame.
Her story was adapted into the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda”, starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo. He is best known for saving hundreds of Rwandans during the country’s genocide by sheltering them in the hotel he ran.