San Antonio, United States (US)

Hotel Rwanda Hero Kidnapped by the Rwandan Government to Face a Corrupt Trial.

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Raised:
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Goal: $100,000
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#FreeRusesabagina

The Case

Paul Rusesabagina is an internationally beloved humanitarian hero. His incredible story of saving 1,268 people by providing them shelter at the Hôtel des Milles Collines during the Rwandan Genocide was depicted in the Oscar-nominated film Hotel Rwanda. Since the genocide, Paul has been a tireless advocate for human rights, freedom, and democracy across the world. He has won numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the United States – the nation’s highest civilian honor. He speaks out against authoritarian tactics and fights for global justice, even in the face of threats to his life. In particular, he is a frequent critic of the political abuses and human rights violations of the post-genocide Rwandan government under President Paul Kagame, who has been in power for two decades.

In late August 2020, Paul was traveling to deliver a speech on human rights in Burundi. While transiting in Dubai, he was taken to a private jet, restrained, and forcibly disappeared to Rwanda. Paul was abducted by his birth country’s government because he dared to speak up against its iron-fisted rule. He could not contact his family for 10 days, was forced to use government-appointed lawyers for over 40 days, and is still not allowed to be represented by his international lawyers. He has been denied medical bail, despite chronic health conditions associated with remission from cancer and hypertension. The New York Times wrote that he appears to be speaking under duress during interviews, unable to explain details of his circumstances out of fear of punishment.

Paul’s kidnapping, restricted legal advice, and treatment are blatantly illegal under international law. He faces an unfair trial against a government that has already publicly asserted his guilt. This has triggered an outcry by nonprofits and NGOs around the world, from the American Bar Association to the Clooney Foundation for Justice, and from the Red Cross to Amnesty International. What Paul needs most now is financial support for legal fees as his team fights to free him. He did not profit from the film Hotel Rwanda and his legal defense costs are extremely expensive.

Your Donation

Funds donated will be directed to the Paul Rusesabagina Legal Defense Fund and will fund legal expenses for Paul.

Rwanda: Paul Rusesabagina must be guaranteed a fair trial As the Rwandan National Public Prosecution Authority examines the case file of Paul Rusesabagina, a political opponent best known... Read More Rwanda: Rusesabagina Was Forcibly Disappeared (Nairobi) – The government of Rwanda’s arrest of a prominent critic of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front amounted to an enforced disappearance... Read More How a Savior of Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, Became Its Captive Paul Rusesabagina went from the world's most famous Rwandan to a prisoner of his political nemesis... Read More
  • 28 August 2020

    Abducted From Dubai And Forcibly Taken To Rwanda

    Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped in Dubai while traveling to speak to church groups in Burundi. He was not extradited, the UAE and Belgium were not involved. He was forcibly disappeared and taken on a private charter to Rwanda. During those days, he was blindfolded, handcuffed, and had his legs tied. Paul’s team believed that he was tortured during these days. Based on pictures in the press and his behavior in subsequent appearances, they fear that the torture and other maltreatment has continued.

  • 31 August 2020

    Initial Detention & Contact Deprivation

    Rusesabagina was held in a jail in Kigali and deprived of any contact with his family for 10 days, except for media visits, which were all monitored heavily by Rwandan authorities.

  • 4 September 2020

    Denied Access To Lawyers

    Rwandan authorities force Rusesabagina to use government-appointed representation.

  • 7 September 2020

    First International Complaint Placed

    Urgent complaint filed to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Read the complaint.

  • 10 September 2020

    Human Rights Watch Issues Statement On Rusesabagina Kidnapping

    Read the statement.

  • 14 September 2020

    Amnesty International Issues Report On Rusesabagina’s Detention

    Read the report.

  • 16 September 2020

    Organizations Pledge to Monitor Trial

    The Clooney Foundation for Justice and and the American Bar Association pledge to monitor Paul’s trial. Read the pledge.

  • 17 September 2020

    Denied Medical Bail And Sentenced To Further Detention

    Despite chronic medical condititions, Rusesabagina is required to remain in detention and is disallowed from seeking adequate medical help.

  • 18 September 2020

    New York Times Releases Expose

    “How The Hero Of Hotel Rwanda Fell Into A Vengeful Strongman’s Trap” is published in the New York Times, detailing the duress Rusesabagina has been placed under in participating in interviews. Read the article.

  • 1 October 2020

    Family and Legal Team Hold Press Conference

    Rusesabagina’s family and legal team briefs the media and supporters on updates, joined by former congressman Patrick Kennedy.

  • 27 October 2020

    Complaint Filed To The East African Court Of Justice

    The complaint details the illegal kidnapping of Rusesabagina and the unjust proceedings surrounding his trial, asking for his immediate release.

  • 20 November 2020

    Paul Appeals Extension of Detention

    Paul is appealing the 30-day extension of his detention. He appeared before the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court today, virtually, to request an extension to be able to meet in person with his lawyer to discuss his case. This extension was granted until Friday 27 November, 9am.

  • 3 December 2020

    Trial Date Set for Paul in 2021

    Paul’s trial date has been set for January 26th. Once we reach trial, we anticipate legal costs to increase to above $10,000 per week. Moreover, Paul’s health continues to deteriorate and the need is greater than ever to get him out of jail soon. He suffers from hypertension, and in addition to rising blood pressure he has complained regularly in recent weeks of dizziness and headaches. Donations are urgently needed.

  • 20 December 2020

    Fundraising Concert

    A fundraising concert, ‘Giving A Voice To The Voiceless’, is held to raise funds for Paul.

  • 23 December 2020

    TIME Magazine Publishes Story on Paul

    ‘Diplomats, Family Push for Release of Detained ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero’ is published in TIME Magazine. Read the article here.

  • 4 January 2021

    LA Times Publishes Op-Ed about Paul's Arrest

    ‘Rwanda’s disturbing arrest of the hero of Hotel Rwanda’ is published in the Los Angeles Times. Read the article here.

  • 25 January 2021

    The American Bar Association and the Clooney Foundation for Justice Release a Pre-Trial Report on Rusesabagina's Case

    Read the report here.

  • 11 February 2021

    The European Parliament Condemns the Detention of Rusesabagina

    The European Parliament passed a joint motion condemning the enforced disappearance, illegal rendition and incommunicado detention of Paul Rusesabagina. Read the motion here.

  • 16 Februrary 2021

    US Congress Urges Rwanda to Release Rusesabagina

    37 congress representatives write a letter to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, calling for the release of Rusesabagina and expressing concern with his extrajudicial detention. Read the letter here.

  • 16 Februrary 2021

    The New York Times Publishes an Article About Paul's Arrest

    ‘Paul Rusesabagina, a government critic living abroad, was mysteriously taken back to Rwanda late last year and arrested. His supporters say he has no chance of getting a fair trial’ is published in the New York Times. Read the article here.

  • 18 Februrary 2021

    Declan Walsh and Abdi Latif Dahir Talk About Rusesabagina's Arrest on The New York Time's 'The Daily' Podcast

    Listen here.

  • 22 February 2021

    CNN's Richard Quest Interviews Rwandan President Kagame

    Kagame effectively admits to kidnapping Paul Rusesabagina to bring him to Rwanda, echoing statements that he made shortly after Rusesabagina was arbitrarily detained. Watch the interview here.

  • 26 February 2021

    Al Jazeera English’s Marc Lamont Hill Interviews Johnston Busingye, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Rwanda

    Busingye is questioned about the circumstances surrounding government critic Paul Rusesabagina’s sudden appearance in Kigali, after years of living in exile. Watch the interview here.

  • 27 February 2021

    The New York Times Reports on a Rwandan Official's Admission of Legal Violations in Rusesabagina's Case

    ‘Rwandan Official Admits Legal Violaitons in ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Case’ is published in the New York Times. Read the article here.

  • 2 March 2021

    Human Rights Watch Raises Concerns Over Legal Issues in Rusesabagina's Trial

    The organisation reports on the lack of attorney-client privilege and the extrajudicial detention of Rusesabagina. Read the report here.

  • 25 May 2021

    ABC News Publishes an Article About the Torture Paul Has Been Subjected To

    ‘Jailed hero of ‘Hotel Rwanda’ claims he was tortured at ‘slaughterhouse’ after arriving in Kigali’ is published by ABC News. Read the article here.

  • 5 June 2021

    The New York Times Publishes an Article about Paul's Treatment in Detention

    ”Hotel Rwanda’ Dissident Denied Food and Medicine in Prison, Family Says’ is published in the New York Times. Read the article here.

  • 7 June 2021

    The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice Advocates for Sanctions Against Rwandan Officials for Their Role in Rusesabagina's Arrest

    The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice files a formal submission to the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Treasury recommending Global Magnitsky sanctions against Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye and head of the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) Colonel Jeannot Ruhunga for their role in human rights violations committed against Rusesabagina, namely his extraordinary rendition and kidnapping in August 2020. Read the foundation’s announcement here.

  • 15 June 2021

    Wall Street Journal Publishes an Op-Ed About Paul's Arrest

    ‘From ‘Hotel Rwanda’ to ‘The Slaughter House’: The real-life hero of the 2004 film was hijacked and made a political prisoner’ is published in the Wall Street Journal. Read the article here.

  • 17 June 2021

    The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights Issues a Report on Rusesabagina's Ongoing Trial

    Read the summary here. Read the full report here.

  • 23 June 2021

    A Witness in Rusesabagina's Trial Testifies That Paul Was Not Involved With Rebels

    Sankara, the witness who was supposed to be so damaging against Rusesabagina, has now testified that Paul was not involved with the rebels, did not form the FLN, and did not command any FLN forces. Read the article ”Hotel Rwanda’ Hero Never Joined Rebels, Co-Accused Says’ published in U.S. News and Report here.

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