US Court rejects Rusesabagina kidnap, torture claims

On 25 January 2023 at 09:51

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has dismissed claims against the Rwandan government and its leadership filed by the family of Paul Rusesabagina.

As per claim filed last year, the family of Rusesabagina who was handed 25-year jail term, says that he was lured into Rwanda from the United States where he had been granted refugee status. It further reads that Rusesabagina was kidnapped under a breach of Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

His family also claimed that the Government of Rwanda, its leader and former Minister of Justice and State Attorney General, Amb. Johnston Busingye were involved in the process ’of abducting and luring Rusesabagina into Rwanda’.

The lawsuit further indicates that Rusesabagina was drugged and taken to Rwanda where he was ‘tortured and imprisoned illegally’.

In consideration of these objections, the family demanded his release as well as a compensation worth US$400 million (over Rwf409 billion).

The court’s decision on 23rd January 2023 reaffirmed Rwanda’s position that it did not kidnap Rusesabagina who is serving his 25-year sentence after he was found guilty of terrorism charges.

Judge Richard J. Leon stated that the lawsuit is not persuasive where there is no evidence that Rwanda violated other country’s sovereignty.

During trial proceedings, the court resolved that Rusesabagina brought himself to Kigali after he was tricked into travelling to Burundi in 2020 by the promise of work.

As court proceedings began, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Alain Mukuralinda said that the country was ready to defend its stand.

Since Rusesabagina was arrested in 2020, his family ignored the basis of accusations against him but kept sounding alarms to exert pressure on Rwandan government to release him.

The Court of Appeal recently upheld the 25-year jail term handed to Rusesabagina over membership of terrorist group and complicity in terrorism acts through by MRCD/FLN group which he led.

The crimes were committed between 2018 and 2019 when MRDC/FLN combatants plotted attacks to Rwanda which claimed lives of nine innocent residents in Southern Province.

They left many others gravely injured, and caused significant material and economic damage in South-West Rwanda.

90 victims in this case from the districts of Nyaruguru, Rusizi and Nyamagabe have appealed for compensations amounting to over Rwf1.6 billion.

Rusesabagina was handed 25-year sentence over terrorism charges.