A man who inspired a Hollywood film about the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been arraigned in court – two weeks after he was paraded to media in the capital, Kigali, following his controversial arrest.
Paul Rusesabagina is accused of terror charges related to attacks by the rebel group National Liberation Front (FLN) in south-western Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.
He has not yet commented on the charges.
FLN is an military wing of MRCD-Ubumwe, a Rwandan foreign-based platform of opposition parties. Rusesabagina is its vice-president.
Security was tight at the court building on Monday with only selected journalists covering the proceedings. The journalists were tested for coronavirus before being allowed in court.
Rusesabagina’s family has assembled a group of international lawyers to represent him, along with a lawyer based in Rwanda, but they are yet to be allowed to represent him in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s government said Rusesabagina – who had lived in exile in the US and held a Belgian passport – had chosen a team of two local lawyers, but his family questioned that choice and the independence of the lawyers.
Rusesabagina’s family says he was abducted from Dubai, but the government says he came to Rwanda and was arrested.
The 2004 film Hotel Rwanda told the story of how Rusesabagina, a middle-class Hutu married to a Tutsi, used his influence – and bribes – to convince military officials to secure a safe escape for an estimated 1,200 people who sought shelter at the Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali during the genocide.
Don Cheadle played Mr Rusesabagina in the film.
About 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide.