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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

Killing of Pakistani journalist in Kenya targeted assassination, investigators say

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A team of Pakistani investigators who investigated the killing of veteran journalist and news anchor, Arshad Sharif, in Kenya, have released a report saying his murder was a planned and targeted assassination’.

Sharif, who was very critical of Pakistan’s government andpowerful army, was killed on October 23 when police shot at his car on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The Kenyan Police was to later release a statement saying it regretted the incident, claiming it was a case of “mistaken identity” during a search for a similar car involved in a child abduction case.

“This was a planned, targeted assassination … rather than a case of mistaken identity as the Kenyan police claimed,” the report said.

The report further suggested the bullet that fatally wounded Sharif was fired from either inside the car or from close range.

Sharif’s killing had led to condemnations and calls for an independent probe with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, announcing an investigation and promising that his government’s findings would be made public.

The investigators’ 592-page report released on Wednesday, seen by said the Kenyan Police issued contradictory statements following the killing of the 49-year-old journalist who was living in exile after he fled Pakistan in August to avoid arrest in the wake of multiple cases, including sedition charges, slapped on him for making comments on his show which the military and government deemed inciting and offensive.

As part of the investigation, two Pakistani officials had travelled to Kenya where they met with police and Sharif’s brothers Khurram and Waqar Ahmed, are residents in the eastern African country.

According to the report, Khurram told the investigators he had been in the car with Sharif at the time of the shooting, travelling home after dinner.

“They saw the roadblock, which Khurram believed to have been set up by robbers. As they sped through, he heard the fatal gunshots,” part of the report said.

“Khurram said he then called his brother who advised that he keep driving until they reached the family’s farmhouse, several kilometres away. Once at the house, the brothers found Sharif was already dead,” it added.

Meanwhile, Islamabad police have charged two Pakistani businessmen living in Kenya, who had hosted Sharif in the African country, with involvement in his killing.

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Nigerian Army denies Reuters reports of forced “abortion programme” for Boko Haram victims

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The Nigerian Army has debunked a report by international media outfit, Reuters, which indicted the military authorities of forcefully terminating at least 10,000 pregnancies for female victims of Boko Haram jihadists who were abducted and impregnated by the terrorists in northeast Nigeria.

The news agency had, in a report on Wednesday, accused the Nigerian military of “conducting years-long illicit programme to carry out abortions among women and girls who have been victims of armed groups.”

“Since at least 2013, the Nigerian military has conducted a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the country’s northeast, ending at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls,” the agency said.

It also said many of the women and girls had been kidnapped and raped by the armed fighters, and those who resisted an abortion ran the risk of being “beaten, held at gunpoint or drugged into compliance.”

Reuters said its report was based on witness statements from 33 women and girls, five health workers, and nine security personnel involved in the alleged programme, and on military documents and hospital records describing or tallying thousands of abortion procedures.

“Most of the abortions were carried out without the women’s consent and some were conducted without their prior knowledge, through abortion-inducing pills or injections passed off as medications to boost health or combat disease,” the agency said.

But in a response on Thursday, the Nigerian Army denied the report, describing it as “a body of insults on the Nigerian peoples and culture.”

In a statement signed by Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernard Nwachukwu, said “Nigerian military personnel have been raised, bred and further trained to protect lives.”

“The Nigerian military will not, therefore, contemplate such evil of running a systematic and illegal abortion programme anywhere and anytime, and surely not on our own soil,” the statement said.

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