Rwanda responds to US Congresswoman who appealed for Rusesabagina’s release

On 17 December 2020 at 11:14

The Minister of Justice and State’s Attorney General, Johnston Busingye has replied the letter the letter of Carolyn B. Maloney, a Member of the US Congress, wrote to President Paul Kagame requesting him to release and return a terror suspect, Rusesabagina Paul to the United States.

In her letter dated 14th December 2020, Carolyn B. Maloney said that on August 27, 2020, Mr. Rusesabagina boarded a plane in Dubai believing he was headed to Burundi.

“The next day, however, the plane landed in Kigali, where Mr. Rusesabagina was arrested immediately by Rwandan authorities. While specific details around the arrest remain unclear, what is clear is that the Republic of Rwanda extrajudicially kidnapped Mr. Rusesabagina to incarcerate and imprison him for unfounded crimes stemming from his long-documented and internationally acclaimed human rights advocacy efforts,” reads part of the letter.

The letter also reads that Rwanda utilized clandestine methods to lure and arrest Mr. Rusesabagina, that the Government ignored the legal avenues available via US deportation laws.

In a response letter, Minister Busingye informed her that Rwanda’s justice system is independent that Paul Rusesabagina’s arrest and ongoing trial are based on key facts.

“This letter serves to inform you that Rwanda’s justice system is independent, that Paul Rusesabagina is under the authority and directions of the judiciary and further, according to Rwanda National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) that his arrest and ongoing trial, were and are based on key facts, he has not disputed to date and most of which are readily available in the public domain,” reads part of the letter.

“The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and NPPA have clarified in court and to the media that Paul Rusesabagina was neither kidnapped nor extradited. He departed Dubai voluntarily by private jet and when his plane landed in Rwanda and he voluntarily alighted, he was placed under arrest pursuant to a 2018 NPPA arrest warrant,” adds the letter.

Busingye further explained that NPPA has charged Rusesabagina alongside 18 other suspects with over nine serious charges including formation of an irregular amred group, membership of a terrorist group, financing terrorism, murder as an act of terrorism, attempted murder as an act of terrorism, arson as an act of terrorism, attempted murder as an act of terrorism and assault and battery as an act of terrorism.

The court has scheduled their trial to begin on the 26th of January 2021 where they will be tried by Rwanda’s High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border crimes located in Nyanza district, Southern Province.

As Busingye Busingye explained, the NPPA further asserts that Mr. Rusesabagina has been neither secretive nor silent about his criminal intent, and that the fact, for example, that in December 2018 as President of MRCD-Ubumwe and its armed wing, the FLN /NLF Force de Liberation Nationale/ National Liberation Forces), he posted a video new year message on YouTube pledging his full support to the youth of the National liberation Forces, and openly called for war on Rwanda.

“The time has come for us to use any means possible to bring about change,” he said in the video.

Among others, the NPPA asserts that this same group (MRCD/FLN), thereafter, led and claimed responsibility for several terror attacks in Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru and Nyungwe Forest, Southern Rwanda in 2018, killing 9 people and leaving many others wounded.

“It has set fire and destroyed local population’s property and infrastructure including a local cooperative building, cars, motorbikes among others,” reads the letter.

Busingye reminded that Rusesabagina has been subject of an NPPA International Arrest Warrant since 2010 following evidence of funding he provided to the FDLR in activities to destabilize Rwanda’s security.

With regard to the Congresswoman’s concern to his health and access to fair trial, Busingye told him that Rusesabagina is in good health and has regular access to medical care by professionals ‘a fact that his family members who he regularly speaks to are aware of’.

Busingye said that Rusesabagina as a dual citizen of both Rwanda and Belgium and resident of the United States, receives consular visits by both the USAND Belgian embassies whenever such visits have been requested.

In conclusion, Busingye tells the Congresswoman that Rusesabagina is represented by counsel of his own choosing like any other Rwandan citizen that his right to free and fair trial is guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.