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Family of real life ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero files $400m suit against government following conviction

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Following the controversial conviction of the world famous ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero, Paul Rusesabagina by a Rwandan court last month, his family has filed a $400 million lawsuit in the US over his alleged abduction and torture by the government in Kigali.

Rusesabagina, whose heroism during the 1994 Rwandan genocide was depicted in the Hollywood film ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ is respected the world over as a hero who saved the lives of thousands by providing shelter for them when he was the manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali during the genocide when ethnic Hutus killed more than 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority.

The lawsuit filed by Rusesabagina’s family names the Government of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, and other senior officials including the former Justice Minister and Intelligence Chief as part of those who abducted and tortured him.

A lawyer to the Rusesabagina family in a statement on Saturday, said:

“The complaint alleges that the Government of Rwanda, the President and high-ranking Rwandan officials conspired to facilitate and execute an elaborate plot to lure Paul Rusesabagina from his home in Texas to Rwanda, where he would be tortured and illegally detained.”

According to the family, the 67-year-old Rusesabagina who is a holder of a US green card, as well as Belgian citizenship, was tricked into travelling from the US to Burundi in 2020 by the promise of work.

“Instead, he was drugged and taken to Rwanda where President Paul Kagame’s security agents forcibly abducted him, tortured him, and forced him into illegal imprisonment,” according to the statement.

The family also aver that the conviction of the ailing hero is effectively a death sentence for him.

He is now currently serving 25 years in prison on terrorism charges following a trial last year, which his supporters say was riddled with irregularities.

He was first brought to Rwanda in 2020 and convicted in September 2021 for alleged involvement in a rebel group blamed for deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.

Rusesabagina’s family and lawyers say they will hold a news conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 4, to announce further details of the suit, which is seeking at least $400m (380 million euros) in compensation, as well as punitive damages.

Metro

Shelve your planned protest, I’m addressing your grievances, Tinubu begs Nigerian youths

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President Bola Tinubu has called on aggrieved Nigerian youths and organizers of the planned nationwide #EndBadGovernance protests on August 1 to shelve the plan as he is working hard to address their concerns.

Tinubu, who made the plea on Tuesday through the Minister of Information National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said there was no need for the protests as he had heard the cries of Nigerians and was doing everything possible to address them.

Idris, who conveyed the President’s message while speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the president was working assiduously to ensure the country’s economy was placed in a good position.

“We discussed the issue of the country in general and Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.

“Mr President said he listens to them and takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today, but also for the future.

“The issue of the planned protest, Mr President does not see any need for that, he asked them to shelve that plan and he has asked them to await the government’s response to all their pleas, he has listened to them,” Idris said.

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Zambia: PF lawmaker Chitotela sentenced to 10 years in prison

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A Member of Parliament in Zambia, Ronald Chitotela, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of arson by the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court.

Chitotela, an MP on the platform of the Patriotic Front (PF) who represents Pambeshe Constituency in the Parliament, was found guilty by Magistrate Martin Namushi of malicious damage, and received a five-year sentence on one of the counts.

He was also sentenced to an additional 11 months for threatening violence and 18 months for occasioning actual bodily harm.

Chitotela’s co-accused, Nixon Chilangwa, another MP who represents Kawambwa Constituency, was acquitted of arson charges but according to the Magistrate, was not spared from the law.

Chitotela, although acquitted of charges related to threatening violence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, now awaits the High Court’s decision on the arson charges.

According to media reports, Chitotela, Chilangwa, and five others were dragged before the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court on charges bordering on arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property and assault, all allegedly committed during the August 2021 general elections.

The others involved in the trial were Kalumba Chifumbe, Davy Kaniki, Chabu Chitotela, Charity Musantu, and Kunda Chitotela.

Chifumbe was sentenced to five years for malicious damage to property, threatening violence, and threatening actual bodily harm, Kaniki and Kunda Chitotela were found guilty of arson, while Musantu was been acquitted of all charges.

Magistrate Namushi also denied the bail applications for Chilangwa and Chifumbe, citing unconvincing reasons for their release.

The defense team is expected to appeal for bail in the High Court.

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