The trial of Paul Rusesabagina, whose story inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” which was scheduled to begin Friday has been postponed to 27 November after the accused asked more time to meet his new lawyer.The intermediate court of Nyarugenge in Kigali city gives the accused a week to finalize the instructions with his new lawyer, and if the problem cannot be resolved by then, the accused must apply for legal assistance.
Rusesabagina a Belgian citizen and U.S. permanent resident faces various charges including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder.
The defendant is especially accused of being a leader – along with Belgium-based former Rwandan Prime Minister FaustinTwagiramungu – of the MRCD Ubumwe-FLN, a militia group based mainly in the east of neighbouring DR Congo.
In addition, his foundation – Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF) – has been accused of collecting money from well-wishers it uses to fund terrorist activities of National Liberation Front (FLN)
The FLN first raided a Rwandan village near the border with Burundi in June 2018, before carrying out another attack in December 2018 when they ambushed three passenger service vehicles inside Nyungwe forest.
As a result, several people lost their lives while others lost limbs. The group, which has often attacked Rwanda from Burundi, has also been blamed for kidnapping civilians.
The 2004 Oscar-nominated film Hotel Rwanda showed Rusesabagina, a Hutu married to a Tutsi, as using his influence as a manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines, to allow more than 1,200 Tutsis to shelter in the hotel’s rooms. In the film, Rusesabagina was played by US actor Don Cheadle.
However Rusesabagina remains a hugely controversial figure where his status as a rescue hero in 1994 has been contested by a range of actors, including genocide survivors at Hotel Mille Collines located in the outskirtrs of Kigali city.