By Isma Kwame Nkurunziza
A month after being repatriated to Rwandan under false pretense, Paul Rusesabagina,66, the hero of the Hollywood movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’, on Friday told court that he admits playing a big role in the formation of Rwandan armed opposition party FLN or National Liberation Front, but denied participating in the attacks the group carried out on the Rwandan border with Burundi.
“We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy,” said Rusesabagina, who is President Paul Kagame’s longtime critic.
“The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge diplomacy,” he added.
Clad in a pink prison uniform, the Rwanda-born Belgian national is charged with 13 offences that include complicity in murder, recruiting child soldiers, forming a rebel group and financing terror.
If found guilty he will have to spend not less than 25 years in prison.
In the first court appearance he asked to be granted bail by court citing poor health, but the judge postponed ruling on his bail application to October 2nd, 2020.
Rusesabagina, a Hutu, became famous after it emerged that he used his position in 1994 as a hotel manager to protect more than 1000 Tustis and moderate Hutus from the Interahamwe militia during the Rwanda genocide.
Shortly after his arrest, he was given a list of lawyers to choose from by the Rwandan government.
However, human rights organisations and his family members claim that he will not get a fair trial at the hands of President Kagame.