Rusesabagina Team Announces Filing of Petition with U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

WASHINGTON – March 30, 2021 – Today, attorney Peter Choharis and the family of illegally extradited and jailed humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina held a virtual press conference to discuss the petition filed with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) on behalf of Paul Rusesabagina.

Mr. Rusesabagina is a prominent humanitarian and political activist who was kidnapped by Rwandan authorities on August 27, 2020, held incommunicado, and has continued to be arbitrarily detained for more than 210 days on false terrorism charges without effective legal assistance or proper medical treatment. The petition was filed by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Choharis Law Group.

Peter Choharis said “The Petition establishes that there is no possibility of a free and fair trial in Rwanda. The US and Belgian governments should press for Paul’s immediate release on humanitarian grounds and must not wait for the show trial to end.”

“After the Rwandan court denied our motions challenging its jurisdiction and other due process violations, we needed to bring these violations to the UN body that investigates and reports on unlawful detentions,” said Choharis.   “Filing Petitions with the UNWGAD is standard when trying to gain the release of someone who is being unlawfully detained. For us, a UNWGAD report will alert the international community that Rwanda’s detention of Paul is unlawful and in violation of his human rights–no matter what the Rwandan courts decide.”

In late August, the international human rights icon whose story of saving 1,268 people during the Rwandan Genocide was told in the film Hotel Rwanda, was lured from his home in San Antonio, Texas and flown against his will from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Kigali, Rwanda.

Here is a statement from RFKHumanRights about the petition.

The press conference can be viewed on the #FreeRusesabagina Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FreePaulRusesabagina

Day 8 – Rusesabagina Boycotts Illegal Sham Trial Once Again

Paul Rusesabagina, international humanitarian

KIGALI, Rwanda – March 25, 2021 — As he announced on March 12, Paul Rusesabagina removed himself from his trial and is not in court today. In addition to the defendant, there were many things missing in court today. Decency. Fairness. Truth. Justice. The rule of law.

Thus far, there are no independent credible witnesses against Paul Ruesesabagina. The first witness was on the Rwandan Government payroll, and the second is a former detainee and now professional witness, who was also used to testify against Kagame’s political opponent Victoire Ingabire. Neither has said anything to prove or address any of the accusations against Paul Rusesabagina in this trial.

Rusesabagina sent a letter to the judges that “Informed the court that he will not come back to court because he will not find justice in these proceedings and his rights won’t be respected.” The court then decided that if Rusesabagina decides not to appear in court, the trial will not stop and he will be tried in absentia, which is allowed in Rwanda.

While the judges left the door open to Rusesabagina returning at any time, the reasons that he withdrew himself from the trial were not addressed. He still has no access to private and confidential documents provided to him by his lawyers, as any files left with him are still confiscated when he goes back to his cell. He does not have access to his international lawyers, and his contact with his Rwandan lawyers is limited, with visits being arbitrarily denied.. The court has still not dealt with the key issue of his illegal kidnapping and subsequent illegal detention, both of which should bring an immediate end to the trial. These and many other legalities, as laid out by multiple international human rights reports, all remain.

The Day 8 witness was Noel Habyaremye who was a co defendant of Victoire Ingabire. He is a professional witness who was wheeled out from a torture house to testify against Ingabire.

According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International he was held incommunicado and tortured in Rwandan prison and eventually let out on early release. He testified, without any evidence or receipts, that Rusesabagina had sent him money. He said that he talked to Paul about “his plans” but never said what those plans were.

There was a great deal of discussion about the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation which was founded to help widows and orphans after the Genocide. In 2007, when groups inside of Rwanda who were receiving funds from Rusesabagina began to be threatened with expulsion or extinction, the HRRF changed its mission. Rather than focusing on building a better life for a few hundred widows and orphans, the mission was changed to create an education and advocacy foundation to work toward building a better life for all Rwandans through creating dialogue on truth and reconciliation and building a sustainable peace for the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

The Rwandan government, which regularly reads the HRRF releases, evidently does not read them very closely as the mission is stated in most of them and has been since the change of focus back in 2007. The Foundation, which was formally dissolved in 2014, worked to prevent future genocides and raise awareness of the need for a new truth and reconciliation process in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa to stop the violence occurring there today. Building on the lessons learned from the Rwandan genocide, the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation worked to create dialogue in order to promote an understanding of the dangerous conditions which lead to misunderstanding, hatred, and violence–the seeds of future genocides.

So on Day 8 of the show trial of Paul Rusesabagina, everything remains the same. Paul continues to boycott the trial as his rights continue to be violated.

#FreeRusesabagina

Paul Rusesabagina, Hotel Rwanda Humanitarian, Trial Recap Day 7

Rusesabagina Boycotts Illegal Sham Trial

First Witness Called is an American Paid Rwandan Agent

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kitty Kurth

Email: kitty@kurthlampe.com

Phone: 312-617-7288

Mar. 24, 2021 – As he announced on March 12, Paul Rusesabagina removed himself from his trial and is not in court today. In addition to the defendant, there were many things missing in court today. Decency. Fairness. Truth. Justice. The rule of law.

Rusesabagina sent a letter to the judges that “Informed the court that he will not come back to court because he will not find justice in these proceedings and his rights won’t be respected.” The court then decided that if Rusesabagina decides not to appear in court, the trial will not stop and he will be tried in absentia, which is allowed in Rwanda.

While the judges left the door open to Rusesabagina returning at any time, the reasons that he withdrew himself from the trial were not addressed. He has no access to private and confidential documents provided to him by his lawyers, as any files left with him are still confiscated when he goes back to his cell. He still does not have the freedom to contact his lawyers at any time, as visits are sometimes denied and he has no phone access to his lawyers. The court has not dealt with the key issue of his illegal kidnapping and subsequent illegal detention, both of which should bring an immediate end to the trial. These and many other legalities, as laid out by multiple international human rights reports, all remain.

The one concession provided by the court is that there is now a computer in Rusesabagina’s cell, which the government says fulfills his need to prepare. It is not connected to the internet, which is expected. So what’s the problem? He was told that the computer will be searched every week by the prison authorities. This effectively means that the computer is useless. Paul will not be able to make any private or confidential notes for his lawyers, since they will not be private. In addition, if he even uses the computer there is every chance that the Rwandan government will try to plant incriminating files on it during the time it is being searched. For a criminal defendant, having a computer that is not private is the equivalent of not having a computer at all.

As the show trial commenced, the first witness was paid Rwanda agent Michelle Martin who gave no testimony relevant to the indictment against Paul. Martin holds a masters in social work and has served in academic roles around the Chicago area. She currently runs a blog called Aging Naked. More importantly, in 2010 she was briefly a volunteer with the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF). She attended one or two meetings and events, and was included in some email correspondence and some phone calls. HRRF leadership only found out many years later that she was a paid spy for the Rwandan government.

In addition to being a paid agent (check the FARA records) and to not reporting that she was a paid agent (according to governments sources, this has already caused her legal problems and may cause more with this testimony), Michelle’s statements clearly show that she has been working with the Rwandan government all along.

Martin attended a few HRRF planning meetings and was involved in some emails. She also had contact with other members of the Rwandan diaspora, one of whom had their computer hacked during that time. The hacker was never discovered. In Martin’s testimony today she mentions having access to “over 10,000 emails.” In fact, she was copied on a few dozen emails when volunteering with HRRF. She was never instrumental in any Rwandan diaspora group, but her access does suggest that she had access to someone(s) computer files. It is clear in hindsight that Martin used her relationships to collect information as a paid agent for the Rwandan government.

During her testimony, at several points Martin also accused Paul Rusesabagina of “genocide ideology,” “negationism” and “genocide denial.” She claimed that she realized he was guilty of these while working with him. Interestingly, these are terms that are only used by the Rwandan government. Anyone in Rwanda who claims that Hutus were killed during the genocide, or that the Rwandan government has committed human rights violations, or even speaks negatively about President Paul Kagame may be accused of these “crimes.” In fact, all of these terms are used by the Rwandan government to stifle free speech, and to impugn or arrest anyone who speaks out against that government. Martin’s use of these terms clearly shows her background and allegiances with the Rwandan government. We believe that she met Paul once. She did no actual work for the Foundation.

Since that time, Martin has acted as a Rwandan agent in a variety of ways, speaking publicly against Rwandans in the diaspora who oppose the human rights violations and abuses of President Paul Kagame. She also wrote a letter to the leader of a prominent US Foundation asking that Paul Rusesabagina not be honored by that group or allowed to speak, which is a standard tactic of Rwandan agents.

Martin later filed Foreign Agent Registration Act documents disclosing that she was paid $5000/month for her services. Her contract with Rwanda included mapping networks of Rwandans in the diaspora who were speaking out against the Kagame government, tracking their memberships and affiliations, researching policy responses to fight back against those in the diaspora who speak out against Kagame, and implementing a “pro-active response to the ‘Diaspora Effect,’” referring to anyone in the diaspora who speaks out against the Kagame government. These activities all amount to what can only be called spying for the Rwandan government on Rwandans in the diaspora. Kagame’s government has been engaged in this activity since at least 1998. Interestingly, Michelle Martin is a rare case in which Kagame’s use of paid agents, in this case an American citizen, can be clearly shown in the United States. Martin gathered information for the Kagame regime both on Americans and on US residents.

And today Michelle Martin took the stand in the trial of Paul Rusesabagina in an attempt to implicate him, the HRRF, and his PDR-Ihumure party. Martin brought up many of the false allegations already disproven against Rusesabagina, including a meeting in South Africa that never happened, along with Western Union receipts that were proven forged a decade ago. She mentioned many emails and documents that she supposedly found by accident. She also tried and failed in her testimony to once again falsely link Rusesabagina and the PDR to the FDLR group in the Congo. HRRF broke off contact with Martin because Martin kept suggesting that Paul should work with the FDLR.

Michelle Martin’s testimony today and story since 2010 is a classic example of the way the Rwandan government attempts to set up dissenters, including Paul Rusesabagina. She used half-truths, partial stories, lack of details, and fabricated information to tell a story intended to implicate Paul Rusesabagina and other Rwandans in actions against the Kagame government. The problem is, even with false and fabricated information, in several hours of testimony Martin’s information did nothing to provide any real evidence against Rusesabagina. What she proved is that Paul Rusesabagina and other Rwandans in the diaspora have been criticizing the human rights violations and illegal actions of the Rwandan government and Paul Kagame since 2010 and before. This is absolutely true and not in question. It also has nothing to do with even providing evidence toward the false charges against Paul Rusesabagina.

Additional details on Martin’s activities and background on Rwanda were reported in 2014 at: https://www.africaglobalvillage.com/is-depaul-university-the-best-cover-for-an-agent-of-the-rwandan-government/

So on Day 7 of the show trial of Paul Rusesabagina, everything remains the same. Paul continues to boycott the trial as his rights continue to be violated and the false testimony against him has begun.

###

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kitty Kurth
kitty@kurthlampe.com
312-617-7288

The Trial Against Paul Rusesabagina is an Abuse of Process

CHICAGO – Mar. 15, 2021

  1. OVERVIEW

It is difficult to imagine criminal proceedings that are further removed from a legitimate process of impartial justice, than those against Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda.  

Kidnapped and drugged by an agent of the Rwandan government and brought to a country to which he would never voluntarily return, Paul was “arrested” in the absence of a warrant as required under Rwandan law, held in incommunicado detention, and then signed incriminating statements after having been tied at the face, legs and hands for three days, and interrogated in the absence of a lawyer. Paul has been held in solitary confinement for six months in Mageragere Prison. President Kagame has publicly pronounced that Paul is guilty of the charges, effectively obliterating his right to be presumed innocent. The Rwandan prison authorities have withheld his Paul’s prescription medication since 17 September, leading to daily recurrent health problems and significant weight loss. Paul has been deprived of lawyers of his own choosing, with his international lawyers being denied access to him and the court, contrary to past practice. All legal documents, including those marked “privileged and confidential” containing defence strategy have been systematically confiscated, never returned, and read at the highest levels of government. Paul has no access to the 5000+ pages of documents in his case file, meaning he cannot prepare his defence. Paul is being tried together with 19 other accused, all of whom have pled guilty and incriminated him, in proceedings in which he is given no prior notice of which witnesses will enter the courtroom and when.

The judges then ordered that the first witness begin. This is also in violation of standard Rwandan court practice, in which the detailed charges against the accused are read out loud in court before the proceedings begin, a process that can often take many days …

#FreeRusesabagina

Twitter:  @freethehero
Facebook:  @FreePaulRusesabagina
Instagram:  #FreeRusesabagina
TikTok:  #FreeRusesabagina

Hotel Rwanda Humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina Denied Basic Rights, Refuses to Stand Trial

CHICAGO – Mar. 12, 2021 – After 6 hours in court today in Kigali, the High Court judges denied all of the motions made by Paul Rusesabagina and his attorneys. They then announced that the trial would begin immediately.

Rusesabagina was given the floor and made the following statement to the court after his motions were denied:

“I’d like to tell the court and the judges that my basic rights to defend myself and to have a right to a fair trial were not respected by the court. Therefore as my rights have been violated, I’d like to tell the court that I don’t expect any justice in this court. And so I want to inform you that I will not be appearing again in court for the hearings. I have stopped my trial.”

Paul’s multiple pre-trial motions and letters were not dealt with in advance of the trial, but instead these issues were taken up in the first 5 days in court. These included the fact that Rusesabagina was lured from San Antonio to Dubai, and then kidnapped to Rwanda when he believed he was going to Burundi. This illegal act alone, violating international and domestic laws, should be enough to stop the trial.

Rusesabagina has also been denied the right to lawyers of his choice, as the international lawyers on his team have been barred from assisting in the case. He had no access to lawyers of his choice for more than two months, and limited access until a few weeks ago. He stated in court today that “I don’t understand why I am the only one in this country who cannot have my lawyers and have to choose lawyers only from here.” He still has no way to make confidential phone calls to his lawyers, and only talks with them when they visit the prison.

After more than six months he still has no access to the 5,000+ page case file that details the charges against him and his 20 co-accused, most of whom he does not even know. He has not had the opportunity to study the indictment.  Legal standards around the world allow the defendant and his lawyers time to review the case against him and be provided with materials to do so. While Paul’s lawyers can access these documents, the prison has confiscated all of the papers brought to him, including letters from his family and confidential documents that he was given by his lawyers. These have not yet been returned, even after the judges ordered it earlier in the week. More importantly, the Rwandan government now has access to all of these files, including privileged discussions of defense strategy, in violation of both Rwandan and international legal standards.

One of Paul’s central arguments is that he has been systematically denied his ability to prepare for the trial by the government that has falsely charged him.

At the end of a two hour adjournment, the judges returned and denied all of Rusesabagina’s motions. They then declared that the trial would begin immediately and that Rusesabagina could prepare his case while all of the co-accused went on trial. Since they are charged together, this is another denial of basic rights as Paul and his lawyers will have no opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, all of whom are expected to give government coerced testimony against him.

The judges then ordered that the first witness begin. This is also in violation of standard Rwandan court practice, in which the detailed charges against the accused are read out loud in court before the proceedings begin, a process that can often take many days.

The next court date is set for March 24, 2021.

#FreeRusesabagina

Twitter:  @freethehero
Facebook:  @FreePaulRusesabagina
Instagram:  #FreeRusesabagina
TikTok:  #FreeRusesabagina

Paul Rusesabagina, Hotel Rwanda Humanitarian, Trial Recap Day 4

KIGALI, RWANDA – Mar. 9, 2021 – The High Court ruled the kidnapping of Paul Rusesabagina is legal and the show trial can move forward. The judges focused on the fact that the government admitted Paul was lured to Rwanda, but claimed force was not used thus it did not qualify as kidnapping. This is another clear breach of international law and practice. 

Paul was lured from home in San Antonio to Dubai to Rwanda. This was done by an agent of the Rwandan government. “Luring” an individual, called “inveigling” in US kidnapping law (18 U.S. Code § 1201), is illegal in the U.S. and under international law (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9). Due process must be followed anytime an individual is transferred from one jurisdiction to another. The Rwandan government is making a distinction between “force” and “luring” that does not exist. 

The court does not believe that Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped despite the fact the Minister of Justice, the head of RIB and President Kagame have talked about the kidnapping as a “flawless plan” and have admitted that Paul was lured to Rwanda. 

The court said that Paul Rusesabagina was arrested legally and presented with an arrest warrant on August 28th, but no arrest warrant has been produced. Additionally, Paul was without benefit of counsel on that date as he was being held incommunicado, bound and blindfolded for the first three days of his capture.  

Earlier, the Court made a written ruling on Paul’s ability to prepare for trial and on the privileged and confidential documents provided to him by his attorneys that have been seized. They ruled Paul can have a computer with his casefile on it and that all documents seized should be returned and privileged documents to be protected, “after having been identified.” The Court did not say who will determine if a document is privileged or not, or, how it will be determined. In addition, the Court did not address, nor provide any remedy for  the fact that the government has already had access to all privileged communications, including documents outlining his defense strategy. This breach of confidentiality would require an immediate end to the case in legal systems in which an independent judiciary was permitted to function.

Félix Rudakemwa, the attorney for the Paul Rusesabagina immediately appealed the ruling, stating that “we demand that the trial is adjourned until the appeal is resolved.” 

The microphones went silent and the video feed from the court stopped abruptly. No future court date was announced.   

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Kitty Kurth
kitty@kurthlampe.com
312-617-7288

The Blood On Our Hands, Part III: The Kidnapping of Paul Rusesabagina, Dubai’s Role and The Dangerous Rulers that We Have Built

CHICAGO – Mar. 3, 2021 – Paul Rusesabagina disappeared from Dubai, an important global city for many reasons. One key reason for its importance is that Dubai plays a crucial role in the international mineral trade, facilitating the transfer of ore, precious metals, and rare earth minerals from Africa and the Middle East to manufacturers and consumers in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Principal among its mineral trading is Dubai’s massive gold market (gold trading constitutes roughly 20% of the UAE’s economy), and it is this market that tells us the most about how and why Paul Rusesabagina was forcibly disappeared from Dubai.

In 2016, the UAE imported more than $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa, much of it untaxed in the country of origin (black market gold). This figure was based on customs data from the UAE, and the value that year made the UAE the world’s prime destination for African gold. Most of that gold is traded in the UAE’s gold hub, Dubai.

As the 2019 UN Group of Experts (GOE) on the Democratic Republic of the Congo report makes clear, official figures from the Rwandan government are not reliable: “Rwanda declared gold exports of 2,163 kg, while the United Arab Emirates officially imported 12,539 kg from Rwanda during the first nine months of 2018.”

The nearly sixfold difference between the UAE’s reported gold imports and the reported exports from Rwanda is staggering. The current market value of the gold from Rwanda (as reported by the UAE) would exceed $778 million for the first nine months of 2018. The dishonesty of the Rwandan government raises major concerns about how and where the gold is sourced, as the United Nations has criticized
Rwanda for selling gold from the DRC in the past. But this also raises important questions about our responsibility for what is happening in the Great Lakes Region – from Dubai, this gold spreads all around the world and permeates our daily lives in the United States and Europe in our jewelry, smartphones, and electronic devices. It is equally vital to understand the importance of the gold trade to Paul Kagame and other members of the Rwandan elite – according to the 2019-2020 Annual Report of the National Bank of Rwanda, gold exports increased by a jaw-dropping 754.6%, amidst a decline in other exports.

It is also important to note that this is not the first instance in which Paul Kagame has been connected with Dubai. In a private conversation with US diplomats, a member of the UN GoE told them the following: “[Tribert] Rujugiro, who financed Kagame’s RPA when it was fighting the Habyarimana regime, is reportedly very close to the Rwandan President… UN team had obtained a hard copy email, in which Rujugiro allegedly asked a Dubai contact to release $120,000 to pay CNDP soldiers.”

According to the UN GoE and the Center for Public Integrity, the CNDP has “perpetuated serious human rights abuses that include mass murder, torture, rape, forced recruitment of children, and slavery.” Rujugiro and Kagame have since become enemies.

Aside from its status as a prominent trading destination, the UAE is infamous for its broad state security apparatus. Its flagship law governing the state security apparatus, Federal Law No. 2, was passed in 2003 and amended in 2011. The shroud of secrecy surrounding the state security apparatus is so broad that even the exact text of the law cannot be found in the UAE’s official gazette as its publication is exempt from disclosure for “security reasons.” The UAE has built one of the most sophisticated mass surveillance systems in the world. They have been helped in large part by US-based intelligence contractors, particularly in the creation of the ominous DREAD unit. Per Human Rights Watch (who was able to obtain an unpublished copy of Federal Law No. 2 from 2003):

“UAE’s state security apparatus reports directly to the president and may take any action inside or outside the state to protect state security within the limits of the law and other legislation. It authorizes the agency to curb any political or organized activity by an individual or an association that may compromise the state’s safety and security, the system of governance, or national unity; harm the economy; or weaken the status of the state and provoke hostility against it or undermine confidence in it. State security officials may use force to the extent necessary to carry out their duties.

The state security apparatus also has the authority to embed state security offices in the state’s federal ministries, its public institutions, its semi-governmental corporations and organizations as well as embassies and consulates. It has the authority to deny, halt, or approve access to key rights and government services. Neither [UAE] citizens nor UAE residents can appeal a decision made on state security grounds.”

The UAE’s obsession with security has been repeatedly used as an excuse for not implementing democratic reforms, as detailed in a secret memo by US diplomats:

“The leadership have stated in private conversations that they will not jeopardize the security environment for so-called democratic gains, citing, in particular, a perceived “security threat” related to trade unions or political participation by the sizable expatriate worker population.”

With this extensive security apparatus in play, how could the Rwandan Intelligence Bureau launch an operation to capture Paul Rusesabagina in Dubai?

In his role as Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi/Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) is widely recognized as the de facto ruler of the UAE. He is aided by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MbR), the UAE’s Vice President/Prime Minister/Minister of Defence and Crown Prince of the Emirate of Dubai. No significant investigations have been launched by the UAE’s government into the curious circumstances surrounding the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina, and they have yet to express any significant outrage about the possibility of the RIB operating in Dubai. Based on what is known about the security apparatus in the UAE, this essentially means that one of two things occurred, neither of which is a good scenario:

  1. MbZ and MbR knew about the operation being undertaken in the UAE by the RIB and at least tacitly allowed it to occur, which would not be in line with international (and most likely domestic UAE) law.
  2. Less likely – the RIB successfully kidnapped a well-known international figure from Dubai without the knowledge of MbZ and MbR, who are only using their surveillance state to maintain power and assert absolute control over their population, instead of providing actual security. The extrajudicial removal of a well-known foreign citizen from within their borders raises the spectre of a security state that is narrowly aimed at their own citizens and residents.

MbZ in particular is well-accustomed to using fear around security to build his deadly empire. In another secret memo written by US diplomats, MbZ’s tactics were openly discussed with skepticism:

“Although MbZ is increasingly talking tough on Iran, i.e., stop Iran “by all means possible” and “deal with Iran sooner rather than later” (ref A), his comments should also be taken in the context of strong UAE interest in acquiring advanced military technology and, specifically, MbZ’s repeated requests for Predator B (ref B). The UAEG is clearly nervous about any US actions that could upset their much larger and militarily superior neighbor. The UAE’s significant trade relationship with Iran–approximately $4 billion–is another complicating factor in the relationship. On more than one occasion, the UAE leadership has expressed trepidation over the prospect of being caught in the middle between the US and Iran.”

Despite the thousands of deaths caused by the UAE’s deadly and illegal military/paramilitary activity and arms trafficking in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and elsewhere, countries around the world (such as the US, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, and Australia) have plowed the UAE with at least $3.5 billion in armaments since 2015. Western corporations have rushed into partner with the UAE, including US investment firms BlackRock and KKR, who closed a deal with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to buy a 40% stake in ADNOC’s pipelines for $4 billion. Western nations, particularly the United States, have justified MbZ’s slaughter of innocent lives in the Middle East and Africa as being essential for security – and, tragically, we (the citizens of the western world) have allowed and armed them to continue doing that.

This is illustrated by new evidence from the FinCEN papers regarding the Kaloti Jewelry Group, an enormous multinational Dubai-based corporation. In 2014, during the administration of President Barack Obama, a taskforce led by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency determined that there was ample evidence of Kaloti buying
precious minerals from money launderers involved with drug trafficking groups and other notorious criminal elements. However, despite clear evidence, no action was taken, reportedly because the US did not want to upset MbZ and the UAE government. Not even the open wedding of notorious terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter in 2005 at Dubai’s Grand Hyatt was enough for the United States to seriously confront the UAE. Dawood Ibrahim has built his fortune on smuggling, human trafficking, terrorist attacks (including the tragic 26/11 attacks on Mumbai in 2008), and many other illegal activities.

Overall, as hundreds of thousands of people died in the Rwandan genocide and millions more suffered and died its aftermath, we (the citizens of western nations) have responded with absolute indifference. Making matters worse, we have essentially built our modern, technology-equipped societies upon the decades of death in the DRC (and, of course, elsewhere). If we allow Paul Kagame (with the assistance of MbZ/MbR) to torture and kill Paul Rusesabagina, an incredible hero, then we will show once and for all that none of these Black Lives matter as long as we can continue to accumulate material things. And in the process, we ourselves, through our inexcusable indifference, will have struck a crushing final blow in the sad history of the Rwandan genocide. We cannot let
that happen.

Background: Paul Rusesabagina, internationally renowned humanitarian who saved the lives of 1,268 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide whose story is told in the movie Hotel Rwanda, has regularly criticized human rights violations and a lack of democracy in Rwanda, while working for an internationally sanctioned truth and reconciliation process and sustainable peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. He was kidnapped by the government of Rwanda on August 27 and taken to Kigali, where he is currently held in prison. Rwandan President Kagame is a dictator who does not tolerate dissent, who slanders and intimidates critics of his government, including calling them “terrorists,” and who has a long record of imprisoning and even killing those he considers to be critics or
political opponents.

#FreeRusesabagina 

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Will the World Step in and Save Paul Rusesabagina?

CHICAGO – Mar. 2, 2021 – What do Paul Rusesabagina, Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi and Alexei Navalny have in common? They are all people who have stood up to the human rights violations of dictatorships and paid for it. Right now though, the United States and the world have an opportunity to help one of them before it is too late.

In 1994 during the terrible genocide in Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina saved the lives of 1,268 people as depicted in the movie Hotel Rwanda. Sadly as Paul and others put out regular calls for assistance, the world refused to intervene. Now Paul was captured and thrown into prison in Rwanda because he is a consistent and vocal opponent of Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame.

This situation is very similar to the type of dissent raised by Navalny in Russia and Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia. Rusesabagina’s capture was very similar to Navalny’s, a regular critic of Vladimir Putin. Both were kidnapped and jailed for their political views by dictators who do not tolerate dissent.

Luckily so far, Rusesabagina’s story has not ended the way Khashoggi’s did – when Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and killed by agents of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But unfortunately that may all change soon.

Over the past week, the Rwandan government has made it clear to the world that they are plotting to kill Rusesabagina, just as they admitted to the plot to carry out his kidnapping from San Antonio, Texas, to Dubai, and then on to Rwanda. Last week, Justice Minister Johnston Busingye announced in an interview with Al Jazeera that his office was following a plot to help Rusesabagina escape from his maximum security prison in Rwanda.

This is sadly a common way that the Rwandan government is known to assassinate political opponents. While capital punishment may be illegal in Rwanda, human rights organizations regularly decry the many extrajudicial killings carried out by President Kagame’s government each year. Prisoners are frequently killed or “commit suicide” in prison, and others have been killed while “trying to escape.”

Is the Rwandan government, one of the most repressive in the world with enormous control over their population, really so weak that they cannot control their prisoners? That they cannot stop all of these alleged prison breaks? Particularly in the case of Paul Rusesabagina, arguably the highest profile prisoner the Rwandan’s have ever held, this is patently ridiculous.

Rwandan agents have been trying to lure Rusesabagina’s family and colleagues into their plot since November 2020, beginning with messages to his daughter from an alleged prison guard who fears for Paul’s life, and is offering to assist in his escape in exchange for expenses. These numerous contacts were quickly reported to US and Belgian authorities to put them on record. Similar contacts were received by Rusesabagina colleagues, and now by his oldest daughter. This week, his wife received information from a trusted source inside of Rwanda that the government may be moving Paul into the general prison population, with the intent of having him killed by a fellow prisoner.

In Europe, information is now available that the Rwandan Embassy in the Netherlands is planning a meeting this week to organize a protest at the Hague asking for an investigation into the murder of Paul Rusesabagina after they kill him. This is part of the plot to pretend that they are not responsible. A source in the Netherlands is part of these communications and will keep us informed.

All of this points to the Rwandan government considering the “best” way to kill Paul Rusesabagina, hoping to minimize their own culpability. The fact is though, Paul Rusesabagina is now a prisoner in Rwanda, brought there against his will, and his health and safety are now firmly the responsibility of President Paul Kagame. If Rusesabagina dies, whether in prison, during an “escape,” or of poor health, then Kagame is responsible.

The United States, Belgium and the rest of the world have a choice. Leave Paul Rusesabagina on his own as they did in 1994 during the Rwandan genocide as they did to Jamal Khashoggi and Alexei Navalny. And then one day he will be dead at the hands of a dictator. At that point, the world can pound their chests, but a humanitarian hero will be dead.

Or the United States and Belgian governments, as well as the European Union and others, can step in NOW and put immediate and strong pressure on Paul Kagame to free Paul Rusesabagina.

The United States State Department can begin the process by immediately invoking the new Khashoggi Ban (visa restrictions policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the INA) as an initial step to impose visa restrictions on President Paul Kagame, members of the Rwandan Investigation Bureau, military and others in the regime involved in the kidnapping of Paul Rusesabagina and other illegal activities against Rwandans abroad, and members of their immediate families. This should be followed by other steps as appropriate by the administration and the US Congress.

If the world is serious about stopping human rights violations and extrajudicial killings by the violators, the time to start is now. The world did not listen to Paul Rusesabagina’s plight in 1994. Will they respond this time, or will they allow him to die?

#FreeRusesabagina 

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