KIGALI, 12 March 2021 – Paul Rusesabagina, the man portrayed as the hero of the Hollywood movie Hotel Rwanda says he will not appear again for his trial on terrorism charges in the Rwandese capital, Kigali.
“Because the court denies me my rights in this trial, I am not expecting justice here, so I will not appear in this trial again,” Rusesabagina told the court holden in Kigali.
He spoke after the court rejected his request to be able to choose his own defense team, including his Belgian lawyer, as well as a demand for six months to prepare his trial.
The court cited non-reciprocity between the Belgian and Rwandan bar associations.
The court said delaying the trial another six months would be “denying [the] right to timely justice” to 20 other suspects standing trial with him.
Experts say they now expect the 66-year-old Rusesabagina to be tried in absentia.
He is accused of sponsoring deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019 by the armed wing of the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), a coalition of opposition parties of which he is vice-president.
His lawyers have denied all the charges against him.
The Hotel Rwanda star hero accuses Kigali of his abduction from Dubai and rendition to Rwanda last August.
The court has said he was tricked and must face trial.
Rusesabagina rose to global prominence after Don Cheadle played him in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda.
The film depicts Rusesabagina’s efforts to save hundreds of people from being murdered during the 1994 genocide.
Rusesabagina left Rwanda in 1996, seeking and obtaining asylum in Belgium where he later took citizenship.
He moved to the United States on a green card and is listed among the fiercest critics from exile, of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.