U.S reacts on Rusesabagina’s 25-year sentence
Court on Monday, September 20, handed a 25-year sentence to Paul Rusesabagina, the man who was the political head of FLN, a terror group that orchestrated murders in south-western Rwanda between 2018 and 2019.
At least nine people were killed during the attacks, while others were left injured and property looted or destroyed.
“Court hereby convicts Rusesabagina to crimes of creating and committing acts of terrorism, and thereby sentences him to 25 years in prison,” ruled Justice Antoine Muhima, the president of the High Court Chamber for International and Cross Border Crimes.
Court ruled that the fact that Rusesabagina had boycotted court proceedings meant that he could not get a reduction in sentence.
Court, however, absolved him of the charge of formation and creation of an irregular armed group, saying the crimes committed were in the context of a terrorism, and should therefore be considered under terrorism crimes law.
Rusesabagina, who was not present in court during the pronouncement of the sentence, is considered the mastermind of the atrocities committed by FLN in the districts of Nyamagabe, Rusizi and Nyaruguru.
He received the heaviest sentence of all the 21 suspects.
Paul Rusesabagina Case Outcome
Ned Price, Department Spokesperson
September 20, 2021
“The United States is concerned by the Government of Rwanda’s conviction of U.S. lawful permanent resident Paul Rusesabagina on September 20.
The reported lack of fair trial guarantees calls into question the fairness of the verdict. We have consistently highlighted the importance of respect for all applicable legal protections throughout these proceedings and have raised concerns that these protections were not addressed in an impartial manner consistent with Rwanda’s international commitments.
We are concerned by the objections Mr. Rusesabagina raised related to his lack of confidential, unimpeded access to his lawyers and relevant case documents and his initial lack of access to counsel. We urge the Government of Rwanda to take steps to examine these shortcomings in Mr. Rusesabagina’s case and establish safeguards to prevent similar outcomes in the future.”