Authorities arrest 'Hotel Rwanda' film hero Paul Rusesabagina

Paul Rusesabagina is show in Rwanda after his arrest. Photo courtesy of Rwanda Investigation Bureau/Twitter
Paul Rusesabagina is show in Rwanda after his arrest. Photo courtesy of Rwanda Investigation Bureau/Twitter

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Authorities on Monday arrested on terror-related charges Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered hundreds of Rwandans in a hotel to save them from genocide, inspiring the film, Hotel Rwanda, according to the state-run Rwanda Investigation Bureau.

The bureau posted on Twitter that Rusesabagina, 66, was in their custody after he was arrested "through international cooperation." It did not say which country helped with the arrest.


Rusesabagina is currently in police custody in Rwanda's capital Kigali, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau said.

He is accused of being "the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits, including MRCD and PDR-Ihumure, operating out of various places in the region and abroad," the agency said in a tweet.

Rusesabagina and his supporters have said that Paul Kagame's government made him a target after he criticized his government as being repressive and undemocratic.

Kagame led the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which ended the genocide by defeating the civil and military authorities responsible for the killing campaign, according to Human Rights Watch. Kagame also became the country's de facto leader and then president in 2000.


Following Hotel Rwanda's release, Rusesabagina became a more vocal critic of Kagame, whose government stifled political dissent and independent media, The Washington Post reported, often linking dissent with genocide denial.

Hutu extremists killed around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

During the 1994 genocide, Rusesabagina was a manager of the Milles Collines hotel and saved hundreds of lives by sheltering people there, inspiring Don Cheadle's portrayal of him as a hero in the 2004 Hollywood film, Hotel Rwanda.

A year after the film's release, Rusesabagina was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom for his humanitarian efforts during the genocide.

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