Paul Rusesabagina Still has Not Seen his Judgement 15 Days After the Verdict
By: Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation
Paul and his family knew that he would be found guilty since he was kidnapped in August, 2020, so when he received word about the verdict days after the trial ended from his lawyers, he wasn't surprised. However, that was more than two weeks ago, and it is shocking that the Rwandan government continues to withhold the judgement from a man who they claim to have convicted in a "fair" trial. Even worse, Paul's own Rwandan attorneys are still prevented from bringing him ANY documents, including a copy of his own judgement and sentence. This is not the norm, even in Rwanda's completely political justice system.
It was a complete miscarriage of fair trial procedure and justice when the Rwandan authorities refused to allow Paul access to the casefile against him while he was on trial. Now, it is simply embarrassing and nonsensical for them to continue to stop Paul from seeing ANY outside documents, including the verdict that their own court produced.
International observers, the international press and countries around the world have all stated that this trial was completely unfair. And now that the trial is over, the injustice continues.
Importantly, Paul has 30 days under Rwanda law to decide whether to appeal the verdict. Preventing him from even knowing the basis on which he was convicted makes it impossible for him to give instructions to his lawyers in relation to any meaningful appeal. From start to finish, this process has been a miscarriage of justice.
Paul Rusesabagina is a 67 year old man who has been in Rwandan custody for 404 days. He was kidnapped to Rwanda, tortured, and held in solitary confinement for more than 250 of those days. He is in poor health, has very high blood pressure, and is a cancer survivor who has now missed two years of check-ups on his condition, which Rwandan doctors are not equipped to evaluate. The international community, led by the United States, Belgium and the EU, need to step in to pressure Rwanda to free Paul Rusesabagina now on humanitarian grounds.
In late August, 2020, Paul Rusesabagina, the international human rights icon whose story of saving 1,268 people during the Rwandan Genocide was told in the film Hotel Rwanda, was flown against his will from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Kigali, Rwanda. He has been on trial in Rwanda since February 17, 2021 and the verdict is expected on September 20, 2021.
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