Rusesabagina kidnapped and undergoing severe torture
Paul Rusesabagina

The Global Campaign for Rwandan’s Human Rights strongly condemns the kidnapping of Mr. Paul Rusesabagina which occurred on the 28th of August 2020 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

On August 31th, Mr. Rusesabagina was paraded in front of Rwandan media as a prisoner at the Remera Police Station 

That same day, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) announced via its Twitter account and official website that Mr. Rusesabagina had been arrested through international cooperation 

However, on the 2nd of September 2020, the United Arab Emirates obdurately denied to have played any role in Mr. Rusesabagina’s extradition to Rwanda, stating that the country has no extradition agreements with Rwanda.

On the 7th of September 2020 the director of RIB, Rtd Col Jeannot Ruhunga announced in a press conference that Rusesabagina was arrested at the Kigali International Airport when he arrived on his own will. 

All those contradicting statements from the Rwanda Investigation Bureau demonstrate how Mr. Rusesabagina’s arrival in Kigali had been conducted illegally and could not be explained in a clear way.

We concluded that Mr. Rusesabagina was illegally extradited to Rwanda considering that no extradition court hearing was held. In doing so, Rwanda has broken various international laws and treaties including Article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights which states: “Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power’’ 

Based on the Rwandan government track record on conducting trial for political opponents, we have strong reasons to believe that Mr. Paul Rusesabagina will not receive a free and fair trial. 

We have learnt that Mr Rusesabagina lives with different chronic health conditions that require ongoing specialist medical attention and monitoring in the USA. His current detention in Rwanda without access to his regular specialist medical attention puts his life in serious and imminent danger.

We have also learnt from reliable sources in Rwanda that Mr Rusesabagina has been severely tortured and forced to refuse the internationally recognised lawyers hired by his family to defend him in court. 

As result of these torture, Mr Rusesabagina has now accepted a government chosen lawyer without the professional experience required to defend high profile cases. 

We thus request the government of Rwanda to immediately stop torturing Mr. Rusesabagina and release him without delay and allow him to go back to his home in the USA.

We request the international community, speciality the United nations, Belgium and the United States to intervene and urge the Rwandan government to release Mr Rusesabagina.

Lastly, we request the Rwandan government to immediately end its oppression activities including harassment, kidnapping and extrajudicial killing of its citizens abroad. The Rwandan Government should adhere to existing international laws and must follow legal extradition protocols for any extradition case of anyone they suspect to have committed any crime on its soil. 

Rene C Mugenzi 

Chairman – Global Campaign for Rwandans’ Human Rights