Rwanda to tell Blinken that Rusesabagina’s arrest and conviction abided by law

On 4 August 2022 at 01:49

Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINAFETT) has revealed that it ready to welcome the United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and take the opportunity to make clarifications that the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina and conviction were lawful under Rwandan and international law.

Blinken is awaited in Kigali next week for the first visit of US top official since the incumbent President Joe Biden took office.

MINAFETT has through statement disclosed that Rwanda looks forward to further strengthening the relationship with the United States and discuss partnership in the areas including peacekeeping, global health, global food and energy security, trade and investment, counterterrorism and climate action.

Discussions with Blinken are also expected to address security challenges in the Great Lakes Region where Rwanda remains committed to various regional mechanisms in place to find durable solutions.

“Rwanda looks forward to a robust exchange of views on governance and human rights, as has always been the case in the Rwanda-U.S. relationship,” reads the statement in part.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee recently told the media that Blinken will meet with President Paul Kagame on his visit to Rwanda where the arrest of Rusesabagina will be part of topics of discussions.

She said that the State Secretary has been expressing concerns that Rusesabagina was illegally arrested.

Rwanda and US enjoy cordial relations but some of its officials have been exerting pressure on Rwanda over the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina, the former President of MRCD-FLN terrorist group who was handed 25-year jail term.

Some US lawmakers proposed sanctions against Rwanda accusing the country of having kidnapped Paul Rusesabagina.

As the statement released by MINAFFET reads, Rwanda will make clear that the arrest of Rusesabagina was lawful.

“On the case of Rwandan citizen Paul Rusesabagina, on which we had engaged with the United States for more than a decade, Rwanda welcomes the opportunity to once again make clear that his arrest and conviction for serious crimes against Rwandan citizens [alongside 20 other accomplices in the same trial], while residing in the United States, were lawful under both Rwandan and international law,” adds the statement.

Related story: Rusesabagina handed 25-year sentence

Paul Rusesabagina was convicted of terrorism charges.