Over the past three months, the family of Paul Rusesabagina, who was convicted of terrorism charges before receiving presidential clemency last week, remained silent.
Even his daughter, Carine Kanimba, who had previously been vocal in advocating for her father’s release through various news outlets, kept quiet during this period.
This signaled how the United States and Rusesabagina’s family changed their attitudes in this case.
After the announcement of Rusesabagina’s release on Friday last week, the US officials the decision through different statements but his family remained silent.
IGIHE has learnt that his family has designated a representative to comment on Rusesabagina’s case.
The representative is identified as Juleanna Glover who serves as a consultant for different organizations.
Juleanna Glover is a well-known consultant who has worked with a variety of organizations. Some of the notable institutions she has provided consultation services to include Uber, Tesla, Microsoft, Oracle, eBay, the Smithsonian, Snapchat, JP Morgan Chase, Netflix, Tata Sons, CVS Health, SpaceX, Chobani, AT&T, LVMH, PepsiCo, Google, and Alibaba, among others.
Responding to an email sent by IGIHE about Rusesabagina’s release, he said: “The family of Paul Rusesabagina is pleased to hear the news about his release. They hope to reunite with him soon.”
Juleanna has declined to comment on questions regarding Rusesabagina’s release and his expected arrival time in the United States.
It is said that Rusesabagina will not receive any special ceremonies upon his arrival and will be treated as an ordinary citizen, without being portrayed as a hero.
Sources indicate that the United States accepted it. Besides, Rusesabagina also indicated it in his letter requesting for clemency saying that he will not involve himself in Rwandan politics.
As Rusesabagina was released in the night of Friday 27th March 2023 around 10 p.m., he was accompanied by officials from US embassy from Mageragere Prison to the residence of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador in Kigali.
He had to stay at the embassy’ residence until he is granted permission by the Minister of Justice to leave the country for Doha where he will spend few days before travelling the US.
One of persons who met with Rusesabagina on Saturday told IGIHE that he was safe.
According to sources, Rusesabagina might depart from Rwanda this Monday.
However, details have not yet emerged whether he is still in Rwanda or not.
Other sources say that his departure may be delayed due to incomplete travel documents.
The release of Rusesabagina is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to improve relations between Rwanda and the United States, which had faced challenges over the past three years.
While the US had exerted pressure for Rusesabagina’s release, Rwanda maintained that it could not be forced to free a person who had committed such crimes.
The situation prompted a visit from Antony Blinken, who traveled to Rwanda last year, with the release of Rusesabagina being among the key issues on the agenda.
Stephanie Nyombayire, the Press Secretary for the Office of the Presidency, recently disclosed that Rusesabagina’s release is the outcome of a joint effort to reset the relationship between the United States and Rwanda.
Rusesabagina, the former President of the MRCD-FLRN terror group, was sentenced to 25 years for terrorism charges along with Nsabimana Callixte, alias "Sankara," who served as the FLN’s spokesperson, and 18 others linked to the same case.
Rusesabagina had been arrested in 2020. Following his release, Qatar affirmed that it was involved in the mediation that led to the clemency granted to Rusesabagina that plans to send him to Doha were underway.