NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Prosecutors Appeal After 'Hotel Rwanda' Hero Jailed On Terrorism Charges.

Prosecutors Appeal After 'Hotel Rwanda' Hero Jailed On Terrorism Charges

Rawandan prosecutors had sought a sentence of life in prison for Paul Rusesabagina (File)

Kigali:

Rwandan prosecutors said Wednesday they have filed an appeal against a court ruling that sentenced "Hotel Rwanda" hero Paul Rusesabagina to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges.

The National Public Prosecution Authority is appealing the judgements against Rusesabagina, a staunch critic of President Paul Kagame, and 20 co-defendants, spokesman Faustin Nkusi told AFP.

Rusesabagina, 67, and his fellow accused were convicted and sentenced on September 20 after a trial that rights groups and his supporters had branded a sham.

It was not clear whether prosecutors were appealing the sentence itself or the wider ruling.

But chief prosecutor Aimable Havugiyaremye had told reporters at the time that the prosecution was "not happy with the verdict because all the accused got lesser sentences than what the prosecutors had prescribed".

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of life in prison for Rusesabagina, the former Kigali hotel manager who was accused of backing a rebel group blamed for a spate of attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.

Rusesabagina has been credited with saving over 1,200 lives during the country's 1994 genocide, and his actions inspired the Hollywood film "Hotel Rwanda".

He later used his fame to denounce rebel leader-turned-president Kagame as a dictator, and left Rwanda in 1996, living in Belgium and then the United States.

He has been behind bars since his arrest in August 2020, when a plane he believed was bound for Burundi landed instead in Kigali.

His family say Rusesabagina was kidnapped and have rejected the nine charges against him as payback by a vengeful government for his outspoken views against Kagame.

'Already A Life Sentence'

Neither he nor his lawyers were in court for September's verdict, which saw his co-defendants receive sentences ranging between three and 20 years.

The United States and Belgium both voiced concern that Rusesabagina had been denied a fair trial.

"Twenty-five years is already a life sentence," his daughter Carine Kanimba told AFP after the prosecution announcement.

"In appealing and asking for more the prosecution is just revealing how political this trial is and always was."

The Court of Appeal will decide at a later date when to hear the prosecution's case, a court official told AFP.

Kagame's government accused Rusesabagina of belonging to the National Liberation Front (FLN), a rebel group blamed for gun, grenade and arson attacks in 2018 and 2019 that killed nine people.

He denied any involvement in the attacks, but was a founder of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition group of which the FLN is seen as the armed wing.

Kagame had dismissed criticism of the case, saying that Rusesabagina had been in the dock not because of his fame but over the lives lost "because of his actions".

Kagame has ruled at the head of a Tutsi-dominated government since his forces ended the mass killings that claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis.

But he has often come under fire for rights abuses and a crackdown on freedom of speech, critics and the opposition.

Last week police announced the arrest of several people including opposition party members and the owner of a popular YouTube channel for "spreading rumours" intended to undermine the government.

"The Rwandan government's latest crackdown underscores that it is unwilling to tolerate debate and criticism," Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, calling on Rwanda's international partners to press for the release of those detained.

"These blatantly arbitrary and politically motivated arrests are intended to further discourage people from speaking out against government policy or abuse."

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Related news

Cementing Ties, UAE Buys 80 French-Made Rafale Warplanes.

The United Arab Emirates ordered 80 Rafale fighter jets on Friday, the largest order ever for the warplane, a multi-billion dollar arms contract that deepens economic and political ties with France.

NDTV News

WHO Tells Asia-Pacific To Brace For Omicron: 10 Points.

The World Health Organisation warned Asia-Pacific countries today boost healthcare capacity and fully vaccinate their people to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spreads...

NDTV News

Olympic athlete on her experience of homelessness

Olympic athlete on her experience of homelessness

Track and field Olympian Jade Johnson was homeless at 17-years-old and living in a youth hostel before becoming a professional athlete. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Insta...

When wild animals escape: could the exotic pet trade be our downfall?.

When wild animals escape: could the exotic pet trade be our downfall?.

Exotic pet ownership in the UK has grown 60% since 2000, according to the wildlife charity Born Free. But escaped wild animals are also a growing concern for their potential to spread disease, and the impact an invasive species might have on natur...

Experts warn HIV sidelined during COVID-19 pandemic - DW News.

Experts warn HIV sidelined during COVID-19 pandemic - DW News.

It was in June 1981 that American doctors first started writing about an unknown illness that appeared to be affecting young homosexual men. Those men had been healthy. They had no other, existing conditions. But before we knew it, HIV/AIDS would ...

New Twitter policy won't protect privacy of conservatives: Hawley.

New Twitter policy won't protect privacy of conservatives: Hawley.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley says private citizens should be able to sue Twitter on 'Fox News Primetime' after the social media giant announced a new privacy policy prohibiting images 'shared ... without the consent of the person depicted' #FoxNews #...

1

Live: Boris Johnson answers PMQs

Live: Boris Johnson answers PMQs

The Sun newspaper brings you the latest breaking news videos and explainers from the UK and around the world. Become a Sun Subscriber and hit the bell to be the first to know Read The Sun: Like The Sun on Facebook: Follow The Sun on Twitter: Subsc...

Michigan school shooting - Student kills 3 & injures 8 at Oxford High.

Michigan school shooting - Student kills 3 & injures 8 at Oxford High.

A 15-year-old has killed three fellow students and injured eight others, including a teacher, in a high school shooting in the US state of Michigan. The victims have been named as Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Hana St Juliana, 14. Offici...