Freed Hotel Rwanda hero Rusesabagina arrives in Qatar from Rwanda

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Paul Rusesabagina looks on at the Supreme Court in Kigali on February 17, 2021 [Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP] (AFP)

Rusesabagina was sentenced in September 2021 to 25 years over ties to a group opposed to Rwandan President Paul Kagame that has an armed wing.

Paul Rusesabagina, who was portrayed as a hero in the film Hotel Rwanda about the 1994 genocide, has arrived in Qatar after being released from prison in Rwanda at the weekend, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

Rusesabagina, a permanent resident of the United States, was sentenced in September 2021 to 25 years over his ties to a group opposed to Rwandan President Paul Kagame that has an armed wing.

He was released on Friday after his sentence was commuted following months of negotiations between Washington and Kigali.

Washington’s historically close ties with Rwanda have been strained by Rusesabagina’s detention and by US allegations, denied by Kigali, that Rwanda has sent troops into the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo and supports rebels there.

Rwanda has said Rusesabagina’s release is the result of a shared desire to reset the US-Rwanda relationship.

The 68-year-old former hotelier landed in Doha on Monday, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

He will return to the US from Doha, US officials have said.

Hotel Rwanda portrays Rusesabagina’s success in saving more than 1,000 people fleeing rampaging Hutus, including his family, during the genocide in 1994 by sheltering them in the besieged hotel he managed in Kigali.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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