‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero Paul Rusesabagina Arrested On Terror Charges, Police Say

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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The man who saved hundreds of Tutsi Rwandans during the country’s 1994 genocide, which was depicted in the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” has been arrested by the Rwandan government on terror charges, numerous sources reported.

Paul Rusesabagina, 66, was reportedly in custody and is being accused of being the “founder, leader and sponsor of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits,” the Rwanda Investigation Bureau said according to CNN.

Rusesabagina had been living in Belgium and then in Texas, although Belgian officials told CNN he was not arrested in Belgium to their knowledge. Rusesabagina has not lived in Rwanda since 1996, when he survived an assasination attempt. His daughter alleges he was kidnapped while in Dubai, but didn’t provide evidence to support her claim, according to the AP. 

“Through international cooperation, the Rwanda Bureau of Investigation wants to inform the general public that Paul Rusesabagina has been arrested,” police said in a statement Monday, the AP reported.

Rusesabagina was wanted for crimes like terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder against innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory, the police say. He has previously denied the government’s charges that he financially supports Rwandan rebels, according to the AP.

Rusesabagina gained prominence after saving hundreds of lives during the genocide while he was a manager at the Milles Collines hotel, when around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists. He is a well-known critic of President Paul Kagame. Rusesabagina was in handcuffs Monday, but not yet formally charged in court, according to the AP. (RELATED: Florida Sen. Nelson Compares U.S. Political Climate To Lead Up To Rwandan Genocide)

The Rwandan government disputes his story about saving the hundreds of lives during the genocide. Naphatal Ahishakiye, executive secretary of Ibuka, a Rwanda survivors’ organization, alleges that Rusesabagina charged survivors money to be able to survive in the hotel.

Rusesabagina’s daughter says that the charges are “all made up” and there’s “no evidence to what they’re claiming,” the AP reported.

Rusesabagina was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.