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Real life ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero, Paul Rusesabagina’s 25-year jail sentence stands despite appeals



Renowned Rwandan government critic and real-life hero of ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ the 2005 award winning movie on the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Paul Rusesabagina, has had his 25-year jail sentence on terror charges upheld by an appeals court.

Rusesabagina, 67, was a worldwide acclaimed hero in the movie where he was portrayed sheltering hundreds of people during the genocide that killed more than one million people, mostly of the Tutsi ethnic group.

However, the Rwandan government accused him of promoting the genocide and in September 2021, Rusesabagina was convicted on eight terrorism charges “related to the activities of an organisation opposed to President Paul Kagame’s rule,” and has been in a Rwandan prison.

Though Rusesabagina has continued to deny all the charges and refused to take part in the trial which he and his supporters have denounced as a politically motivated sham, his 25-year sentence was confirmed by a court in Kigali on Tuesday by Judge Emmanuel Kamere.

“The 25-year sentence is equal to the severity of the crime he committed,” Kamere said, while delivering judgement.

On different occasions, Rusesabagina has acknowledged having a leadership role in the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), which has been accused of the 1994 genocide, but denied responsibility for attacks carried out by its armed wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN).

Who is Paul Rusesabagina?

For those who do not know him, Paul Rusesabagina is a celebrated Rwandan hotelier, politician and staunch critic of President Kagame.

He shot into the limelight with his portrayal in the Hollywood movie, Hotel Rwanda, and has been hailed for his role in providing shelter to 1,200 people in his hotel, Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, during the 1994 Hutu extremists attack.

Rusesabagina is also an inspiration behind the Oscar-nominated Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda where his part was played by Don Cheadle and was awarded a US Presidential medal and is a green cardholder for his role during the genocide.


Kenya: Senior ICC prosecutor drops probe into 2007 post-election violence



A senior official of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Nazhat Shameen Khan has announced an end to all further investigations into crimes committed in Kenya relating to violence that erupted following elections in 2007.

The ICC Deputy Chief Prosecutor said the 13-year legal saga, which involved senior Kenyan politicians, had been dropped

“I have reached this decision after considering the specific facts and circumstances of this situation,” she said in a statement.

“Accordingly, the Office will not pursue additional cases into the alleged criminal responsibility of other persons.”

Prosecutors claim that during the nation’s post-election violence in 2010, some 600,000 people were left homeless, and 1,300 people killed in a case in which suspects included former and current Kenyan presidents, Uhuru Kenyatta and President William Ruto. The Hague-based tribunal began looking into the incident in 2010. Six suspects were initially charged with crimes against humanity, which included deportation and murder.

However, in 2014, former chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda dropped the charges against Kenyatta, and in 2016, the prosecution’s case against Ruto was also dropped due to insufficient evidence. The lack of evidence caused the case against all six to fall apart.

Prosecutors opened a new investigation into witness intimidation and bribery after Bensouda claimed that an unrelenting campaign of intimidation against victims and witnesses prevented a trial.

Decades after the “third wave of democratisation,” widespread violence still occurs in sub-Saharan Africa after elections. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe, among others, have had their share of election conflicts.

Kenya is still not free from election disturbances, as levels of violence also played out during and after the 2022 elections.

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Sierra Leonean govt finally labels weekend attack ‘failed coup’



The Sierra Leonean government has finally labelled attacks on several locations in the capital, Freetown, on Sunday as failed attempt to overthrow the government, having previously refraining from so classifying it.

Authorities in the West African nation said that gunmen stormed a military barracks, a prison, and other locations on Sunday, freeing roughly 2,200 prisoners and leaving over 20 people dead. On Monday, everything had returned to normal.

“The incident was a failed attempted coup. The intention was to illegally subvert and overthrow a democratically elected government,” said President Julius Bio.

“The attempt failed, and plenty of the leaders are either in police custody or on the run. We will try to capture them and bring them to the full force of the laws of Sierra Leone.”

The tense situation in Sierra Leone, which is still recuperating from a civil war that claimed over 50,000 lives between 1991 and 2002, has persisted since Bio was re-elected in June.

International allies, such as the US and the EU, questioned the outcome, and the major opposition candidate rejected it.

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