False Charges and No Credible Evidence nor Witnesses Lead to the Guilty Verdict Against Humanitarian

CHICAGO – September 20th – This morning  the Show Trial of Paul Rusesabagina ended with a guilty verdict on eight of nine charges and was sentenced to 25 years prison. A guilty verdict was expected from the beginning. Paul was pre-judged by the Rwandan regime years ago as a human rights critic and perceived enemy of the state. The only question was whether the Rwandan government would attempt to make themselves look better by finding him not guilty on some charges, or by limiting the sentence. An innocent man, kidnapped and held as a political prisoner, was wrongfully convicted today.

 

The Rusesabagina family released the following statement after the verdict was announced:

 

“Our husband and father, Paul Rusesabagina, was kidnapped, tortured and held in solitary confinement. He was forced to undergo a show trial this past year. We knew from the day he was kidnapped that the verdict would be “guilty” on some or all of the false charges. We are happy that the charade of the trial is ending.

 
Paul Rusesabagina is a humanitarian who crusades for the human rights and liberties of the Rwandan people. He has been a critic of every Rwandan regime when they have abused human rights. He has criticized Paul Kagame’s human rights abuses for nearly two decades.  Kagame made it clear over that time that one of his main goals was to silence our father. He is in a dictator’s clutches. They have finished this sham by finding him guilty today. We have told the world over and over that there is no fair trial process in Rwanda, and the past months have shown that. There is no independent judiciary, and there will be no justice for our father. All we can do now is make this clear to everyone – a dictator will be jailing a humanitarian this week. If the international community does not step in, he will probably be in jail for the rest of his life.”
 
The allegations of founding, supporting and funding terrorist groups were never proven in court. No credible evidence was provided on any charge. Sadly this is par for the course in Rwanda, where an independent judiciary does not exist in high profile cases. There is no rule of law there. Paul was found guilty because of politics, not because of any legal proceedings or evidence. And politics in Rwanda are such that no one, inside or outside of the country, dares to challenge the record or the actions of the government or President Paul Kagame.
 
Rusesabagina’s legal team was unsurprised by the verdict. American lawyer Peter Choharis notes that: “In truth, the verdict was delivered long ago: the trial has been fundamentally unfair and has lacked due process. And despite that, the prosecution still did not produce any evidence linking Paul to the attacks in question.”
 
Australian lawyer Kate Gibson said that: “Paul Rusesabagina’s inevitable conviction is the end of a script that was written even before he was kidnapped in August 2020.  The only thing that has been surprising in watching this horror show unfold over the last year, has been the brazenness and openness with which the Rwandan authorities have been willing to systematically violate all of the fair trial rights to which Paul was entitled.”
 
Canadian lawyer Philippe Larochelle, reflecting on the verdict, stated “this trial started with kidnapping, torture and denial of legal representation.  Once local lawyers were appointed, they had no time to prepare for trial.  Some co-accused detailed how they had been forced into making false accusations against Rusesabagina. Witnesses who had made false allegations in the sham trial against Victoire Ingabire were simply recycled in this trial.  The whole Rwanda opus in the end raised only one question: why kidnap, torture and deny fair trial rights if you have reliable evidence supporting the allegations against the accused?  The answer is quite obvious: there is not a shred of reliable evidence. There is no other explanation for the absence of due process and complete disregard for Rusesabagina’s most fundamental rights.”
 
Bob Hilliard, lawyer on the GainJet lawsuit said, “Kangaroo Courts are only capable of kangaroo verdicts. Paul’s bravery in Rwanda was undeniable. Yet now,  a proud  life’s work against a strong man rests in the corrupt hands of the worst kind of leader, someone who is a stranger to the truth and  rules a wasteland of his own making. Paul should be immediately released and the World join together to condemn this puppet court and its mendacious puppeteer.”
 
Specifics from the verdict:
 
In court today in Kigali, the judges read a long verdict against Paul and the co-accused. The only surprises came when additional “evidence” was fabricated in the verdict that was not was not heard before in court, including in any document or statements submitted during the trial. This featured multiple accusations that Paul funded terrorist activities not previously discussed. In particular, there was a brand new allegation that Paul fund raised over 300,000 euros for the FLN.
 

 On the guilty charges, the vast majority of the “evidence” cited by the court came from two sources: statements made by Paul under duress in late August and early September, and the Belgian dossier. These statements were allegedly made by Paul shortly after he was tortured and without benefit of any counsel present. Paul’s first statements in open court included denying that this testimony was accurate and clarifying that he was forced to sign the documents. The court also made various claims about evidence that they received from Belgium in the “Belgian dossier.” This was the conclusion of the Belgian investigation into Paul’s activities, made at the request of Rwanda starting in 2019. Accusations included WhatsApp messages and emails that the court purports show Paul’s guilt. Paul’s team has access to and has reviewed this document. As expected, none of the supposed “evidence” mentioned in the court’s ruling exists. The Rwandan government apparently does not expect others to read this dossier, and thus is claiming evidence from it that is completely fabricated.

 
Underlying this entire case is the fact that the Rwandan prosecutors claim that three attacks were perpetrated against Rwandan civilians by the FLN, and these are blamed on the MRCD and Paul Rusesabagina by association. These attacks were NEVER documented in court. No credible evidence was ever provided that these attacks occurred. No evidence was provided at all outside of statements by the prosecutors without documentation, and some coerced statements from the co-accused. These are the same attacks that Paul and the MRCD leadership denied when they occurred. The MRCD in late 2019 argued strongly that the Rwandan government was behind the attacks, and called for international investigations by the United Nations to find the truth. Victims during the trial described being attacked, but never identified the attackers. Paul and the co-accused were not identified by anyone as attackers. And the FLN was not identified as the group that committed the attacks.
 
All charges in this case are based on the existence of these alleged attacks. No credible evidence was presented that these attacks ever happened. If they did not occur, the entire trial is a fraud.
 
Background on the trial is available here (http://www.prlog.org/12886050.html).
 
What happens next?
 
As the trial concludes, the Rusesabagina family and team are looking forward to the next steps needed to free Paul. As Belgian lawyer Vincent Lurquin notes, “Paul is a political prisoner, so the solution must be political.”
 
There was no fair trial in the case of Paul Rusesabagina. Anyone who understands politics in Rwanda knew from the start that this was never a possibility. Justice in Rwanda for high level critics of President Paul Kagame is a political process, and all answers go through the office of the President.
 
Now is the time for the world community to step up and stand up for human rights in Rwanda. Paul Rusesabagina and the rest of the Rwandan people were abandoned by the world during the genocide in 1994. Paul’s family urges the world to not abandon him again.
 
Now that the trial is over, an innocent man sits in jail, waiting for the world to hold Rwanda to account for the appalling and profound violations of his human and legal rights. In 1994, Rusesabagina reached out to the international community to help stop the Genocide. They were silent. Will they be silent again, or will they stand up for human rights and real justice.

 

#FreeRusesabagina 

Website: www.hrrfoundation.com

Twitter: @freethehero 

Facebook: @FreePaulRusesabagina 

Instagram: #FreeRusesabagina

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Why is the Rwandan government and press bringing up new “evidence” against Paul Rusesabagina now after the trial is over?

CHICAGO – September 15th – Why is the Rwandan social media troll army and the KT Press, a pro-government media outlet,  trying to relitigate and bring in “new” evidence now that the Show Trial of Paul Rusesabagina is over and we are waiting for a verdict on September 20th? Why are they attacking Paul’s daughter Carine and others for defending her father? These are questions raised by a September 12th article in the KT Press and a subsequent Twitter storm among Rwandans working for the government. 

 

 

Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House and many other groups regularly warn that the Rwandan press is not at all “free,” and is in reality a propaganda arm of the Rwandan government. In addition, new evidence comes out daily from Rwandans in exile and numerous authors who decry the work of the social media arm of Paul Kagame’s Rwandan government, responsible for controlling all messages in the public sphere about Rwanda, and for regularly attacking any critics of the regime. 

Paul Rusesabagina needs to be released on compassionate grounds now. Paul’s family and team once again call on the United States and Belgian governments to do everything they can to immediately bring about Paul’s release from Rwanda.

 

 

Now the Rwandan government is responding to the many articles and factual accounts about the Sham Trial of Paul Rusesabagina. It is now clear that there was no credible evidence linking Paul or his MRCD (Movement for Democratic Change in Rwanda) party to the alleged attacks he is charged with committing. The government put up only two witnesses, neither of whom testified about the attacks. Many of Paul’s co-accused were coerced into giving testimony incriminating themselves and Paul before the trial, and then recanted that testimony on the stand. The alleged victims testified to seeing an attack, but they did not identify any of the attackers or the group responsible. No proof was provided that Paul gave financial support to any group involved.

 

The KT Press article purports to provide “evidence” in the form of several WhatsApp conversations between Paul and other Rwandans talking about their support for the FLN group that is alleged to have committed the attacks. One telling point about all of the “new evidence” is that the KT Press journalist is one who the Rwandan propaganda machine has frequently used to distribute false and forged information going back as far as 2010. In 2010 the Rwandan government used Kagire to write about forged Western Union receipts that they were trying to use to falsify connections between Rusesabagina and the FDLR. In 2020 the Rwandans used him to try to spread a false story that the Rusesabagina had applied for a Rwandan passport in 2004 (he hadn’t) but Kagire was happy to showcase the forged documents in his story.

 

The article claims that these WhatsApp messages came from the now infamous “Belgian Dossier” which the Rwandan prosecutors mention over and over during the trial, but which was never admitted into the case as evidence.

 

The problem here is that Paul’s family and team have a copy of the complete Belgian Dossier. We have read it many times. The “evidence” that the articles and trolls are citing does not exist in that dossier. In fact, there is NO evidence in the dossier that incriminates Paul in any way. The Belgian government had this evidence for several years, conducted extensive investigations, including interviewing Paul in the presence of the former Rwandan Attorney General, and never brought charges against him, because there was nothing there.

 

So why would the Rwandan government and press make up evidence AFTER the trial is over? It seems that they have also been reading the press coverage by those who followed and independently monitored the trial, and it is now abundantly clear that they completely failed to prove their case against Paul Rusesabagina. Not only that, but many international legal and human rights organizations have continually pointed out the lack of due process, along with the trial and human rights violations committed against Paul during the process.

 

In this particular case, it is a verifiable fact that the MRCD party, in a 2018 press release, condemned the alleged attacks shortly after they were reported, stated that they believed the Rwandan government was responsible, and called for an independent investigation by the United Nations. Paul and the MRCD did not support these attacks but condemned them. The Rwandan government now seems concerned that the world is taking note of the false narrative they provided during Paul’s illegal imprisonment.

 

Unfortunately a guilty verdict in Paul Rusesabagina’s trial is expected next week. Paul’s family and team knew that he would be declared “guilty” the moment he was kidnapped – no trial was needed. But a Show Trial happened, and the Rwandan government still failed to produce any credible evidence against Paul.

 

With the verdict now due on September 20th, it is not surprising that the Rwandan propaganda machine has kicked into high gear. This machine will be slandering Paul and his supporters in the press and on social media at every opportunity. Members of the government, and their spokespeople, will continue to declare Paul is guilty, despite the fact that by doing so they are further undermining the presumption of innocence, and violating his rights. None of this last minute press frenzy would be necessary if the Rwandan government was confident in the Prosecution case and if they placed any value on the rule of law. But, they have gone on the attack because the prosecution has no case against Paul. They know that the international community is going to take apart the trial and report on the lack of evidence and complete lack of a fair trial in detail once the trial is done.

 

#FreeRusesabagina 

Website: www.hrrfoundation.com

Twitter: @freethehero 

Facebook: @FreePaulRusesabagina 

Instagram: #FreeRusesabagina

TikTok: #FreeRusesabagina

One Year Anniversary of the Kidnapping of Paul Rusesabagina: No Evidence of Crime, but Still in Prison

CHICAGO – August 27th –  Today marks the very sad one year anniversary of the kidnapping of Paul Rusesabagina by the Rwandan government. Why was Paul kidnapped? Certainly not because he supported terrorism, which is the Rwandan government’s claim.

Paul broke a much more important Rwandan rule. He spoke out against President Paul Kagame and his regime. Since the movie Hotel Rwanda was made about Paul’s heroic actions at the Hotel des Milles Collines during the terrible 1994 genocide, Paul has been a steadfast champion for the Rwandan people. He speaks out against human rights violations, including lack of democracy, lack of free speech or free press, and a near complete lack of civil liberties. Paul calls out murders and unlawful detentions of regime opponents. And he has called out Rwandan actions in the neighboring Congo described as war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United Nations and many NGOs. Paul speaks truth to power, and acts as a voice for the voiceless.

But this came at a cost. Paul has been harassed and threatened by the Kagame government for most of two decades. And last August, he was kidnapped by that government in a plot that President Kagame declared as “flawless.” Kagame cannot tolerate anyone dissenting against his regime and his actions, and Paul was on his list as the Number One dissenter. Paul was lured from his home in San Antonio, through Dubai, and then was tricked onto a plane that he thought was heading to Burundi, but actually landed in Kigali.

Over the past 365 days, Paul has been tortured, held in solitary confinement for over 250 days in violation of the UN’s Mandela Rules, and mistreated constantly by his Rwandan captors. He was denied access to counsel of his choice for months, and now that he does have local counsel that he can trust, they are harassed and often prevented from seeing him. Paul is not allowed access to his international legal team, nor to any of the 5,000+ documents in the case that he might need to prepare for a trial. 

He has been put in front of what can only be called a “Show Trial” since February, and the outcome is clear. The prosecution put up no credible witnesses or evidence that link Paul to the charges in any way. This case would be thrown out of court in any other country on sight. But Paul’s team is convinced that when the verdict comes in on September 20th, Paul Rusesabagina will be found guilty and sentenced to effectively life in prison. 

Paul’s wife and six children are increasingly worried about his health every day. Paul is a 67 year old cancer survivor, in remission, but also has a heart condition and high blood pressure. The Rwandan government refuses to give him his prescribed medication, replacing what he normally takes with one pill a day. Paul regularly complains of dizziness, faintness and weakness. He has been confined in one of the worst prison systems in the world, and if he is not released soon he may die there. 

Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation advisor and Rusesabagina family friend Brian Endless, PhD wrote a blog reflecting on Paul’s year in confinement, available here: https://link.medium.com/FD43Zivv3ib


In addition, Paul’s legal team has put together a brief synopsis of the many legal problems in this case, available here: https://hrrfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Brief-legal-overview-on-the-trial-and-kidnapping-of-Paul-Rusesabagina.pdf


Finally, Paul’s team has created an FAQ with many of the most common questions on his case at: https://hotelrwandarusesabaginafoundation.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/faq-one-year-after-kidnapping-1.pdf


Paul Rusesabagina needs to be released on compassionate grounds now. Paul’s family and team once again call on the United States and Belgian governments to do everything they can to immediately bring about Paul’s release from Rwanda.

#FreeRusesabagina 

Website: www.hrrfoundation.com

Twitter: @freethehero 

Facebook: @FreePaulRusesabagina 

Instagram: #FreeRusesabagina

TikTok: #FreeRusesabagina

Supporters, Legal Observers Rally Around Hotel Rwanda Hero as His Family Crowdfunds to Fight His “Show Trial”

CHICAGO – July 23rd –  State leaders, human rights advocates, friends and family of Paul, and ordinary people alike are rallying in support of the #FreeRusesabagina movement. The beloved human rights advocate Paul Rusesabagina, whose bravery in saving 1200 people during the Rwandan Genocide inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda, was kidnapped in August 2020 and has now been in jail in Rwanda for more than 330 days. During his captivity, numerous organizations, including the American Bar Association and Clooney Foundation for Justice, have decried the conditions of his confinement and the dangerously corrupt “show trial” being conducted by the authoritarian Rwandan government. Now, his family and supporters are raising money for a legal defense fund with a goal of bringing Rusesabagina safely home to the U.S., where he has been a permanent resident since 2008 and where he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Rusesabagina has been held captive in a Kigali prison since August 2020, after being kidnapped during a trip to Dubai and taken unjustly across international borders to Rwanda. He has suffered from torture, including restraints, solitary confinement, and food deprivation, and the 67-year-old cancer patient has had his medications changed or outright withheld. The extensively corrupt conditions of this show trial, as well as surveillance on members of Paul’s family, have created the need for the family to crowdfund legal expenses to bring the hero home. Crowdfunding and foundation support have generated just over $60,000 (USD) in contributions so far, but the family says there’s a long way to go. Expenses to date are already well over $100,000 and may exceed $200,000 before the legal proceedings close.

Paul’s detention is one of the most prominent recent examples of authoritarian leaders going to extraordinary lengths to crack down on dissidents. Fighting these tactics is both emotionally and financially draining for the families of prisoners. LegalerAid, a 501(c)(3) legal crowdfunding organization, is hosting a fundraising campaign to help with Rusesabagina’s costs. To donate, please visit https://legaleraid.org/case/hotel-rwanda-hero-paul-rusesabagina/.  

“Some people believe that Paul became rich from the movie Hotel Rwanda, but that simply isn’t true,” said the Spokesperson for Family. Rusesabagina was paid a small consulting fee for his work on the film, which tells the story of how he saved the lives of more than 1,200 refugees while working as a hotel manager during the Rwandan genocide. He received no part of the multi-million dollar profits from the film. And though his fame led to paid appearances and speaking engagements for a time, his career slowed dramatically when he began battling cancer and its associated enormous treatment costs in 2010.

His health is of particular concern to Rusesabagina’s family due to the withholding of his medication throughout his confinement. His daughters have stepped back from their own jobs, dedicating themselves full-time to the urgent fight for his release. They have repeatedly asked for the White House to intervene in the stunning, brazenly illegal saga of their father’s kidnapping and detention. However, Paul remains imprisoned to this day. 

“We’re so grateful for the generous support of the many people who share our goal – to bring Paul home, safely and peaceably,” said Paul’s wife, Taciana Rusesabagina. “He has always fought for the vulnerable, for those without a voice. Now it’s our turn to fight for him.”

#FreeRusesabagina 

Website: www.hrrfoundation.com

Twitter: @freethehero 

Facebook: @FreePaulRusesabagina 

Instagram: #FreeRusesabagina

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Congress Calls on Sec. Blinken to Ensure Rusesabagina’s Safe Return

Rwanda’s Spying and Lying Exposed

CHICAGO – July 21th –  41 Members of the United States Congress recently wrote to Secretary of State Tony Blinken to urge him to use all of the diplomatic means at his disposal to ensure the safe return of  Hotel Rwanda humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina to the United States. The full text of the Congressional letter is attached. 

In their letter, they cited the earlier concerns of their Congressional colleagues over the extrajudicial means used to detain Rusesabagina, the torture inflicted on him and the denial of his basic legal rights and basic human rights. At the time of the writing of the letter, they reminded Blinken that he had committed in writing to ensure that Rwanda would conduct a fair trial. As the days go on, it is apparent to all that there is no fair process. Recently the Clooney Foundation and ABA issued a report again expressed their outrage over the lack of any kind of fair trial. Linked here:  Trial Observation Report: Rwanda vs. Paul Rusesabagina

The signers of the Congressional letter also cited espionage concerns after the intrusion of a Rwandan diplomat into an online class of Mr. Rusesabagina’s son at St. Mary’s University. The Rwandan espionage against Rusesabagina’s family became even clearer this week when the Pegasus Project revealed that the Pegasus spyware has been used to track and surveil Mr. Rusesabagina’s daughter since at least January of 2021. Rwanda denies the use of Pegasus but they have repeatedly been linked to the NSO Group and Pegasus spyware. Hotel Rwanda activist’s daughter placed under Pegasus surveillance

With the further revelations of both the unfair nature of the trial and the further spying by Rwanda on Americans, it is past time for Secretary Blinken to use all diplomatic means at his disposal to free Paul Rusesabagina.

#FreeRusesabagina 

Website: www.hrrfoundation.com

Twitter: @freethehero 

Facebook: @FreePaulRusesabagina 

Instagram: #FreeRusesabagina

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Pegasus Surveillance Software is Being Used to Track Rusesabagina’s Family

CHICAGO – July 19th –  Recent revelations made by the collective media project Pegasus Project showed that Carine Kanimba, the daughter of Hotel Rwanda humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, was among the human rights activists, journalists, lawyers and others who have been targeted by Pegasus surveillance software sold by the Israeli spyware firm NSO group. While the Rwandan government says that they do not use Pegasus, there were several Rwandan activists targeted and Kanimba has not done other activism which would make any of the other countries associated with the Pegasus activities interested in her. 

Kanimba said, “It was bad enough that they kidnapped my father, tortured him and robbed him of his legal rights. Now we find out that they have listened to my conversations with the US State Department, Belgium Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, and our attorneys. This adds insult to injury.”

Rusesabagina’s Washington D.C. based  attorney Peter Choharis said “Countries that hold fair trials and prosecute strong cases don’t resort to tapping attorney-client conversations or seizing attorney-client documents.  This shows that the Rwandan government knows that it lacks the evidence to convict Paul in a fair trial.”

He continued, “The U.S. and European governments whose conversations were tapped might reconsider donating hundreds of millions of dollars to an ally that spies on them.”

Kate Gibson, another attorney representing Rusesabagina said, “As Mr Rusesabagina’s lawyer, I spoke with his daughter Carine Kanimba daily on her Pegasus-infected phone, discussing his case and well-being. Those still calling for a fair trial for Rusesabagina should stop. And demand his release.”

More of  the surveillance details are here from The Guardian article: 

Hotel Rwanda activist’s daughter placed under Pegasus surveillance.

The American daughter of Paul Rusesabagina, the imprisoned Rwandan activist who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda, has been the victim of a near-constant surveillance campaign, according to a forensic analysis of her mobile phone that found evidence of multiple attacks using NSO Group spyware.Carine Kanimba, a US-Belgian dual citizen, has been leading her family’s effort to free her father from prison following Rusesabagina’s abduction and forced return to Kigali last year by the government of the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame.

Amnesty International’s forensic analysis found that Kanimba’s phone had been infiltrated since at least January this year.

It strongly suggests that the Kagame government – which has long been suspected of being a client of the Israeli surveillance firm NSO – has been able to monitor the 28-year-old’s private calls and discussions with US, European and British government officials. A spokesperson for the Rwandan government said the country “does not use this software system … and does not possess this technical capability in any form”.A phone infected with NSO malware, as Kanimba’s has been, not only gives users of the spyware access to phone calls and messages, but it can also turn a mobile phone into a portable tracking and listening device. In the period before she was alerted to her phone being hacked, Kanimba said she had contacts with the US special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, British MPs, and the UK high commission office in Rwanda – all of which could have been monitored. She also held talks with Baroness Helena Kennedy, a barrister and member of the House of Lords.

The State Department declined to comment.

The forensic evidence suggests the spying began in January – though it may have been earlier – and paused in May while Kanimba was in the US. It resumed again on 14 June, the day she met the Belgian foreign affairs minister, Sophie Wilmès. Sources in the minister’s office said no sensitive information was shared in the meeting.

Here are links to a few of the other articles about the Pegasus Project and the hacking of Carine’s phone:


The Pegasus Project

A global investigation

Private Israeli spyware used to hack cell phones of journalists, activists worldwide

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, licensed to governments around the globe, can infect phones without a click

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/interactive/2021/nso-spyware-pegasus-cellphones/?itid=hp-top-table-main

Israeli Spy Tech Used Against Daughter of Man Who Inspired “Hotel Rwanda” – OCCRP

Pegasus software made by Israeli firm NSO Group was used to spy on the daughter of imprisoned dissident Paul Rusesabagina, whose actions during the 1994 genocide were dramatized in a 2004 film star…

www.occrp.orghttps://www.occrp.org/en/the-pegasus-project/israeli-spy-tech-used-against-daughter-of-man-who-inspired-hotel-rwanda

The Pegasus Project | A global investigation

Key question for Americans overseas: Can their phones be hacked?

NSO says phones with U.S. +1 numbers can’t be hacked anywhere in the world. But Americans using foreign-based numbers outside the U.S. are vulnerable.https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/07/19/us-phone-numbers-nso/


La fille d’un opposant rwandais espionnée par Pegasus en Belgique

https://www.lemonde.fr/projet-pegasus/article/2021/07/19/la-fille-d-un-opposant-rwandais-espionnee-par-pegasus-en-belgique_6088774_6088648.html#xtor=AL-32280270-%5Bdefault%5D-%5Bios%5D


All of the stories about the Pegasus invasion are here at this index was compiled by the Rachel Maddow Show:

https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/pegasus-project-media-index-n1274437

#FreeRusesabagina 

Website: www.hrrfoundation.com

Twitter: @freethehero 

Facebook: @FreePaulRusesabagina 

Instagram: #FreeRusesabagina

TikTok: #FreeRusesabagina

What is the Rwandan government hiding?

CHICAGO – July 2nd –  It has been more than 300 days since Hotel Rwanda humanitarian and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped by the Rwandan government and imprisoned in Kigali. Paul is in poor health, was tortured for four days upon his arrival, has extremely limited access to his lawyers, and was in solitary confinement for over 250 days. His legal rights under Rwandan and international law have been violated at every step of the process and it is clear that a “fair” trial is impossible in his case.

Contrary to standard legal practice in virtually every court, Paul has had limited or no access to the files in the dossier against him. In addition, privileged and confidential documents brought to him by his lawyers are routinely confiscated and typically not returned. Recently, even his access to the heavily edited court reports put out at the end of every trial day was cut off by the Prison authorities, who told Paul’s lawyers that they are acting pursuant to “new rules”. 

What does the Rwandan government fear from a 67 year old man who has been in their custody and total control for almost a year? Why do they continue to deny him access to any and all documents related to his case? 

What is the Rwandan Government actually hiding by denying Paul access to any meaningful documentation to his case? The same thing that they are hiding by kidnapping him instead of seeking his extradition by legal means?

Are they hiding the fact that there is actually no case against him? No evidence to speak of? No documents? No photos? No investigation? No credible witnesses? A Belgian casefile upon which the Belgians have refused to do anything so far and which likely lead to a non-lieu shortly?  

Even the judges in Paul’s case ruled that he should have access to his documents after they visited the prison in March following motions filed by Paul’s lawyers challenging his lack of access to his case file. But this changed nothing. The judges and prison authorities are playing a ridiculous game, blaming each other for administrative flaws, when it is clear that in Rwanda all decisions are made at the top. There should be no mistaking the fact that this is a coordinated effort to deny Paul his rights. In addition, over the past two months the mistreatment of his lawyers when they visit the prison and confiscation has increased.

What does this look like? Paul has no pen or paper to write with or take notes that might help him in his trial. He was given access to a computer in March after complaining vigorously that he could not access the case file which is entirely digital, but that computer is useless.  It is checked by the prison weekly, such that any work that he did in his defense cannot possibly be “confidential.” 

In public statements, including a recent one by the Rwandan Bar Association, the government insists that Paul has access to the documents he needs. Paul and his lawyers say that this is simply false, and that he has access to no documents right now. According to the Rwandans, documents are only confiscated to ensure the security of prisoners. In particular, the government seems to be constantly looking for evidence of an escape plan. It is worth noting here that no one escapes from jails in one of the most watched societies on the planet, with a few exceptions of reports by human rights organizations that prisoners have been killed, supposedly while trying to escape, but in reality as a set up by the government. 

So why are the Rwandans confiscating these documents? For punishment. Plain and simple. There is no legal reason, but keeping documents needed for his defense from a prisoner is another way to control and punish them. As they have many times in the past, the Rwandan government is saying “we have you, and now we will do whatever we want to you.” 

#FreeRusesabagina 

Website: www.hrrfoundation.com

Twitter: @freethehero 

Facebook: @FreePaulRusesabagina 

Instagram: #FreeRusesabagina

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Rwandan Courts Move to Sentence the Wrong Paul

CHICAGO – June 17 –  Today the Rwandan prosecutors requested that the court sentence Paul Rusesabagina to life in prison for the alleged crimes brought against him during his trial over the past three and a half months. They reread the list of nine alleged crimes and suggested sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.

There are many problems with the trial that have been pointed out by various legal and human rights groups over the past months, but one issue stands out above all others:

 The Rwandan government has presented no evidence whatsoever that Paul Rusesabagina, or any of his co-accused, were involved in the three attacks that the FLN is accused of committing. No evidence was presented during the trial linking any of the co-accused to the crimes. No witnesses were called to say that they could identify the co-accused. No witnesses identified anyone involved with the attacks. Several witnesses did say that they were victims, but their testimony was limited to describing their injuries and noting in some cases that people they didn’t know, in partial military uniforms, had attacked them.


At one point the prosecutors mentioned a file they received from the Belgian government which they claim provides evidence against Paul. This file was not presented into evidence or read in court. It is a part of the file in this case, however, and after reading the file Rusesabagina’s legal team confirms that there is nothing in the file that links Paul to this case. There are questions in Belgium as to whether the file was legally transferred, but more importantly there is simply no evidence in the file.

What the prosecutors did in this case was attempt — and fail — to link the MRCD and FLN together, so that they can say that Paul Rusesabagina, the former President of the MRCD, was responsible for the alleged crimes of the FLN.

What the prosecutors forgot to do was to prove that ANY crimes were committed, and they presented no evidence at all linking these crimes to the FLN.

The only people who have “testified” that Paul Rusesabagina or his co-accused committed these alleged attacks are the prosecutors in their opening and closing statements. This is “justice” in Rwanda: prosecutors read the charges against you. Prosecutors assume the charges are true without presenting evidence. Prosecutors suggest a sentence based on these charges and the court presents a sentence.

There have been enormous legal irregularities in the trial of Paul Rusesabagina. Paul’s human rights have been violated at every turn, from his kidnapping and torture to the conditions of his confinement and inability to defend himself. And now with the prosecution wrapping up his case, it is clear that the Rwandan prosecutors didn’t even present any evidence that crimes were committed. They tried to link Paul to the FLN, an alleged terrorist group, but forgot to link the FLN to the terrorist acts that they claim occurred!

This trial has been a farce from beginning to end. Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped and is on trial because he is a critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Any questions of a legal case or a trial are an impolite fiction – a show put on by the Rwandan government to silence a critic and chill future dissent.

There was no evidence presented that Paul Rusesabagina had contributed in any way to any funding of terrorism. There were no receipts, no bank records, no treasury reports from either Belgium or the United States where Rusesabagina had bank accounts. There was no money trail presented and no funding of terrorism shown.

Paul Rusesabagina saved the lives of 1,268 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He worked day and night reaching out to the international community to try to get them to intervene and stop the killing. Since the genocide, he has encouraged the international community to come together around an internationally sanctioned Truth and Reconciliation process to create a dialogue among all Rwandas in Rwanda and in the Daispora in order to create a sustainable peace for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Rusesabagina speaks worldwide about creating peace in region, stopping human rights violations and to teach people about the horrors of the genocide so that Never Again can mean Never Again.

Paul Kagame is a tyrant who is responsible for the killing of more than 6 million people in the DRC and surrounding area. He has been re-elected by margins of more than 95% that can only be achieved by manipulating the vote. He has imprisoned everyone that has run against him for President. He has killed many who he felt no longer obeyed him including the former Head of Intelligence and his close friend Patrick Karegaya. Peace activists, human rights advocates, journalists who speak out about the problems in Rwanda end up detained, disappeared, or dead.

One of these Paul’s from Rwanda should be in jail for crimes against humanity, but it is Paul Kagame, not Paul Rusesabagina.

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