“Hotel Rwanda” hero will be released from custody in Rwanda

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Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda,” has been released from prison after his sentence was commuted by Rwandan President Paul Kagame in response to his request for clemency.

In September 2021, Rusesabagina was found guilty of terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Rusesabagina, a dual Rwandan and Belgian citizen and US resident, will be released on Saturday, March 25, along with 19 other people who were convicted alongside him.

“Sentence reduction does not extinguish the underlying conviction,” Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said on Friday.

“Rwanda appreciates the US government’s constructive role in fostering dialogue on this issue, as well as the facilitation provided by the State of Qatar,” she added.

Rusesabagina was detained by Rwandan authorities while on international travel in 2020, in what his family claims was a kidnapping.

Rusesabagina was found guilty of being a member of the terror group MRCD-FLN during his trial in 2021. According to a government statement, two 2018 attacks in which nine people were killed were a particular focus.

Rusesabagina was an outspoken critic of President Kagame prior to his conviction and imprisonment.

His story was adapted into the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda,” starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo, and he is best known for sheltering hundreds of Rwandans during the country’s genocide.

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