Johannesburg – The man portrayed in the movie “Hotel Rwanda” as saving the lives of more than 1,200 people from the genocide was “kidnapped” while in Dubai, his daughter claims, while the authorities on Tuesday did not give more details behind his arrest for terrorist categories.
The appearance of Paul Rusesabagina in handcuffs in the Rwandan capital on Monday has raised concerns among some human rights activists that the outspoken critic of the Rwandan government was the latest example of a government targeting dissidents. He has lived outside Rwanda since 1996, first in Belgium and then in Texas in the USA
Rwandan authorities say they have issued an arrest warrant for Rusabagina to respond to charges of serious crime, such as terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder, committed against unarmed, innocent Rwandan citizens in Rwanda. Authorities cited “international co-operation” but gave no details. They did not say where or how he was arrested.
Rusesabagina’s adopted daughter, Carine Kanimba, told the Associated Press that she last spoke to him before flying to Dubai last week, but did not know the exact nature of his trip. She did not provide evidence to support her claim that she had been abducted.
He said his family was informed early Monday that he was being held in Rwanda but could not be reached for comment. They are worried that the 66-year-old may not be taking hypertension medication.
Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen and permanent resident of the United States, Kanimba said: “We hope to secure his release quickly and safely.”
She said her father had long been a target for his criticism of the Rwandan government.
“What they are accusing him of is all fabricated,” he said. “There is no evidence of what they are claiming.
It was not clear when Rusesabagina would appear in court or what evidence the Rwandan authorities should support. Police said Roussabanga was “suspected of being the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terrorist groups, including the Rwandan Democratic Movement for Change (MRCD), which operates in various parts of the region and abroad.”
The MRCD in a statement on Monday condemned the arrest of Rusabagina, whom it described as one of its leaders. Described as a political platform. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Interpol did not immediately respond to AP questions.
Police and authorities in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has a close relationship with Dubai, often appealing to the World Government Summit and other events where moderators largely avoid discussing his government targeting dissidents.
State-owned RwandAir operates direct flights between Dubai and Kigali.
While experts believe that Dubai is one of the most observant cities in the world, there have been kidnappings by the state. More recently, the family of an Iranian leader of a militant opposition group says Iran abducted him from a hotel at Dubai airport a few weeks ago and brought him back to Tehran to face charges of the death penalty.
In Belgium, authorities had no information about the circumstances of Rusesabagina ‘s arrest and said they did not participate.
In Washington, the State Department said: “We know the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina and are monitoring the situation. We refer you to the Government of Rwanda for more information. “
In the past, the Rwandan government has been accused of persecuting dissidents abroad. South African investigators say the government was directly involved in the 2014 assassination of Colonel Patrick Karegeya, an outspoken critic, in Johannesburg in 2014.
“Anyone still alive who can conspire against Rwanda, whoever they are, will pay the price,” Kagame said after the assassination.
Rusabagina had previously denied allegations by the Rwandan government that he was financially supporting the Rwandan rebels. He called the Kagame government a dictatorship and urged Western countries to press the government to respect human rights.
Government supporters reject Rusabagina’s criticism, saying the Kagame leadership supports democracy and economic growth.
Rusesabagina has won numerous international accolades, including the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was awarded to President George W. Bush in 2005, and the 2011 Lantos Human Rights Award.
“I think it is blind that a human rights champion like Paul Rusesabagina should be arrested, detained and detained the way he is being held,” said Katrina Landos Suet, president of the Lando Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. “This should raise a lot of deep concern and skepticism on behalf of many people.”
The 2004 Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda” showed Rusesabagina, a Hutu married to a Tutsi, using his influence as director of the Hotel des Mille Collines to allow more than 1,200 Tutsis to take refuge in hotel rooms.
But the Rwandan government disputes Rusabagina’s story of rescuing people during the genocide, in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus who tried to protect them were killed by Hutus.
Rwanda has since been transformed from a killing field into a tourist Mecca.