Rwandan court denies ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero Rusesabagina bail, extends detention
FILE PHOTO: Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, stands inside the Kicyikuri primarily court in Kigali, Rwanda September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana
KIGALI (Reuters) – A Rwandan court extended the detention of “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina on Friday pending trial on terrorism charges and denied him bail, the judge hearing the case said.
Rusesabagina, a political dissident who has lived in exile in Belgium and the United States, was arrested in August after returning to the country and subsequently charged with terrorism and other offences.
“The fact that he is sick is not alone a ground to release him on bail,” Theodosie Mukarugira said in a ruling via Skype.
She said the detention would be extended by 30 days starting from Friday so that the prosecution can do more investigations.
At his first court appearance in September, Rusesabagina declined to take a plea on all 13 charges facing him, saying he wanted to plead on a charge by charge basis.
In the past hearings, he admitted sponsoring FLN, a rebel group that wanted to oust Kagame, but denied any wrongdoing.
Early this month, Rwanda’s top prosecutor said he would seek to merge the case of Paul Rusesabagina, with that of former rebels in state custody.
Rusesabagina, who says he was tricked into returning to Rwanda from abroad, has been denied his choice of defence lawyers, his family and their lawyer said in early October.
His defence team was appointed by the government of Rwanda, his family said.