Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Sunday denies that Paul Rusesabagina, a detained opposition figure who inspired the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, was kidnapped in order to be brought back to the country, reported Reuters. He said he was responsible for his own arrest.
Rusesabagina has been held in custody for more than a week. He is credited for saving 1,200 lives during the country’s 1994 genocide by letting people shelter in the hotel he was managing during the mass killings. He had lived outside Rwanda since 1996 and is a citizen of Belgium and has a US permanent residence permit.
But, now, he is accused of supporting rebel violence in the country. His family and supporters said they have not been able to speak to him and that he has not had access to a lawyer nearly a week after he appeared in front of the media in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, in handcuffs.
“What if someone told you that he brought himself – even if he may not have intended it? You will be surprised how he got here. He was not kidnapped or hoodwinked. His coming to Rwanda has more to do with himself than anybody else,” Kagame said on national television on Sunday.
While Rusesabagina’s family said they believe he was “kidnapped” during a visit to Dubai and that he would never knowingly have boarded a plane to Kigali, Kagame suggested that he came of his own accord. The Rwandan president, however, did not explain how Rusesabagina was brought back.
“There was no kidnap in the process of bringing Rusesabagina here. It was actually flawless!” said Kagame. “When the time comes, he will tell the story himself but he led himself here.”
The Rwandan president ensured that Rusesabagina’s trial will be held openly and conducted fairly. It currently remains unclear when he will appear in court.