'Hotel Rwanda' hero charged with terrorism in Rwanda court

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A policeman handcuffs Paul Rusesabagina, right, whose story inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda", before leading him out of the Kicukiro Primary Court in the capital Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. A Rwandan court on Monday charged Paul Rusesabagina with terrorism, complicity in murder, and forming an armed rebel group, while Rusesabagina declined to respond to all 13 charges, saying some did not qualify as criminal offenses and saying that he denied the accusations when he was questioned by Rwandan investigators. (AP Photo/Muhizi Olivier)

KIGALI – A Rwandan court on Monday charged Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” with terrorism, complicity in murder, and forming an armed rebel group.

Rusesabagina declined to respond to all 13 charges, saying some did not qualify as criminal offenses and saying that he denied the accusations when he was questioned by Rwandan investigators.

Rusesabagina, 66, asked to be released on bail, citing poor health that has caused him to be taken to hospital three times in the time that he has been held in Rwanda.

“I request that I am given bail and I assure the court that I will not flee from justice,” Rusesabagina said. The court said it will rule on his bail application on Thursday.

Rusesabagina, credited with saving more than 1,000 lives during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, appeared in handcuffs in Kagarama Court in the capital for a pre-trial hearing, in which the prosecution requested court permission to continue detaining him until investigations are completed.

Rusesabagina was represented by Rwandan lawyers David Rugaza and Ameline Nyembo, who have been discounted as state-imposed representation by his family outside Rwanda.

Neither his lawyers nor the prosecution explained the circumstances under which Rusesabagina arrived in Kigali at the end of August from Dubai. He had traveled from the U.S. to Dubai and then mysteriously appeared in Rwanda. The Rwandan court said the suspect was arrested at Kigali International Airport, contradicting the earlier police version that he was arrested through “international cooperation.”

When Rwandan President Paul Kagame spoke on national broadcasting about the case, he indicated that Rusesabagina may have been tricked i nto boarding a private plane in Dubai that took him to Rwanda.