Court in Rwanda has convicted Paul Rusesabagina, a man that was praised world over for saving many lives during the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Rusesabagina was found guilty on Monday of a forming an armed militia and being part of a terrorist group.
“Basing on evidence presented indicating their roles and actions, court finds Paul Rusesabagina and Callixte Nsabimana aka Sankara culpable of creation of a terrorist group,” ruled Justice Marthe Mukamurenzi on Monday.
“In our appreciation, court finds that owing to the testimonies heard, evidence presented and admissions by the, we find there’s a prima-facie case against Rusesabagina on the charge of Creation and being a member of a terror group.”
The verdict which to many was unsurprising was heard in the absence of the accused, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’ highest civilian honour.
Mr Rusesabagina withdrew from the case itself in March this year saying he did not expect justice.
The Rwandan government argued that Rusesabagina, who led a coalition of exiled opposition groups, was responsible for a series of violent attacks against civilians by an armed group called the National Liberation Forces near Rwanda’s border with Burundi.
The government pointed to a 2018 video in which Rusesabagina says the “the time has come for us to use any means possible to bring about change in Rwanda, as all political means have been tried and failed” as evidence of his guilt.
Much as Rusesabagina did not attend trial, he accepted during his interrogation that he funded FLN. He said he personally contributed €20,000 but led a fundraising drive that raised over €300,000 which was duly sent,” ruled Justice Mukamurenzi
“Court find no basis in claims by Rusesabagina and Sankara that their aim for creating FLN was to facilitate repatriation of Rwandans in exile. The atrocities committed by this group is completely different from the mandate they claim they had.