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Rwanda Paid for Flight That Brought Hotel Rwanda ‘Hero’ to Kigali

Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda" and is credited with saving more than 1,000 people by sheltering them…
Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” and is credited with saving more than 1,000 people by sheltering them at the hotel he managed during the genocide, attends a court hearing in Kigali, Rwanda, Feb. 26, 2021.

NAIROBI – Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said in an interview broadcast Friday that Kigali had paid for the plane that brought the hero of the hit movie Hotel Rwanda to his home country to be arrested and tried.

A critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame since he left Rwanda to live abroad, Paul Rusesabagina, 66, appeared in Kigali under arrest in mysterious circumstances last August and is now on trial for charges including terrorism.

“The government paid” to return Rusesabagina to Rwanda with the help of someone who knew him, Busingye told Al Jazeera’s UpFront program, produced in the U.S.

The former manager of the Mille Collines hotel in Kigali, scene of the film recounting how he saved more than 1,000 people during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, Rusesabagina later moved to the U.S. and Belgium, where he was naturalized.

But he was arrested in Rwanda in late August as he disembarked from a plane that had taken off from Dubai, which he believed was taking him to Burundi, in what his lawyers called a kidnapping.

“In international criminal law, luring people into places where they can be brought to justice has happened and happened in many jurisdictions,” he added.

In a statement, the justice ministry confirmed that the country “facilitated the journey” that brought the accused to Rwanda and insisted that “his rights were not violated at any point” in the legal arrest.

It also said that a segment of the Al Jazeera program in which the minister is seen discussing with his advisers the interception of Rusesabagina’s private communications, which the broadcaster said was shown in error, “does not reflect the government’s position.”

Rusesabagina faces nine charges, including terrorism, especially for alleged support for the National Liberation Front rebel group believed to have carried out deadly attacks in recent years.

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