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Hotel Rwanda Hero Paul Rusesabagina Set Free

todayMarch 25, 2023

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Paul Rusesabagina, a former hotel manager portrayed as a hero in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, has been released from prison in Kigali.

Two years ago, he was sentenced to 25 years for terrorism by a Rwandan court in what supporters called a sham trial.

A government spokesperson said Mr Rusesabagina’s sentence had been “commuted by presidential order”.

Mr Rusesabagina, 68, is credited with saving some 1,200 people during the 1994 genocide.

US President Joe Biden called the news of his release a “happy outcome”.

“Paul’s family is eager to welcome him back to the United States, and I share their joy at today’s good news,” he said in a statement.

It has taken years of diplomatic pressure and talks brokered by Qatar for Mr Rusesabagina to be released.

Much of that pressure came from the United States, where he had lived since 2009. The Biden administration has said he was “wrongfully detained”.

His family say the Rwandan government lured him from Texas, where he had permanent residency, back to Rwanda in 2020.

Mr Rusesabagina left Rwanda in 1996. His story remained largely unknown for a decade, while he worked as a taxi driver in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

It was featured in a section of journalist Philip Gourevitch’s 1998 book about the genocide, but it was the 2004 Hollywood movie, where he was played by Don Cheadle, that brought him global attention.

Written by: wada

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