Humanitarian Famous For Saving 1,268 Rwandans During 1994 Genocide
WASHINGTON – Sep. 7, 2020 – Today, international counsel for Hotel Rwanda humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina filed an urgent appeal to Dr. Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Paul Rusesabagina is a Belgian citizen who was brought illegally and involuntarily to Rwanda in an extraordinary rendition – no extradition process was followed. (Link to appeal at end of release)
In their appeal, lawyers Jared Genser and Brian Tronic of Perseus Strategies requested Dr. Melzer act urgently to assist Mr. Rusesabagina, who was “abducted, disappeared, and subjected to an extraordinary rendition from Dubai to Rwanda and is currently being held incommunicado by Rwandan authorities in Kigali.” They explained that he has had no contact with his family, authorized legal counsel, or Belgian diplomats (he is a citizen and has a right to consular access) for 11 days since his abduction. The appeal also provides the first complete narrative of the timeline of what has happened to Mr. Rusesabagina from August 28, 2020, to present.
Dr. Melzer was asked to open up an immediate investigation into Mr. Rusesabagina’s treatment and to reach out to the Government of Rwanda immediately to ensure his mental and physical integrity is respected, especially in light of his serious health issues, at least two of which (a heart condition and hypertension) require him to take ongoing medication.
They also emphasized that the combination of his ongoing and illegal incommunicado detention with President Paul Kagame’s false public statement that Mr. Rusesabagina “heads a group of terrorists that have killed Rwandans,” that he will “have to pay for these crimes,” and that he “has the blood of Rwandans on his hands” is not merely a flagrant denial of his right to the presumption of innocence, but could also provide license to the police or prisoner authorities to execute jailhouse justice rather than treat him in accordance with the rule of law.
Jared Genser, counsel to Mr. Rusesabagina further observed:
“We are gravely concerned for Paul’s health and welfare. President Kagame bragged about how his plan to bring Paul to Rwanda illegally worked ‘flawlessly’ and he continues to hold him incommunicado and without presenting him to a court where he could challenge the lawfulness of his detention. His shocking public declaration that Paul is guilty of being a terrorist and that he has the blood of Rwandans on his hands gives license to police and prison authorities to torture or murder him, outside any legal process. I urge the world to demand that Paul be immediately and unconditionally released. This is the only legal result that would be compatible with Rwanda’s obligations under international law because any legal action that emanates from an extraordinary rendition is illegal.”
Link to urgent appeal: https://www.perseus-strategies.com/wp-content/uploads/202…