'Hotel Rwanda' hero arrested on terror charges, say police

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Paul Rusesabagina appears in front of media at the headquarters of the Rwanda Bureau of investigations building in Kigali, Rwanda Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. Rusesabagina, who was portrayed in the film "Hotel Rwanda" as a hero who saved the lives of more than 1,200 people from the country's 1994 genocide, and is a well-known critic of President Paul Kagame, has been arrested by the Rwandan government on terror charges, police announced on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo)

KIGALI – Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed in the film “Hotel Rwanda” as a hero who saved the lives of more than 1,200 people from the country's 1994 genocide, has been arrested by the Rwandan government on terror charges, police announced on Monday.

A well-known critic of President Paul Kagame, Rusesabagina had been living outside Rwanda since 1996 and police did not say where he was apprehended. He had been living in Belgium and then in Texas in the U.S.

Rusesabagina's daughter told the Associated Press that he traveled last week from the U.S. to Dubai, where she alleged he was kidnapped and taken to Rwanda but did not provide evidence to substantiate the claim.

In handcuffs and a facemask, Rusesabagina, 66, was shown to the press in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, on Monday by police. He has not yet been formally charged in court.

“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.

“Rusesabagina is suspected to be the founder, leader, sponsor and member of violent, armed, extremist terror outfits including the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD) operating out of various places in the region and abroad,” police said.

Rwanda's police said they had issued an arrest warrant for Rusesabagina to answer charges of serious crimes including terrorism, arson, kidnap and murder, perpetrated against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians on Rwandan territory. Police told the media in Kigali that investigations against Rusesabagina will continue and more information will be released about his alleged activities.

Carine Kanimba, Rusesabagina’s daughter, said the family was informed early Monday that he was being held in Rwanda. She said none of the family has been able to speak to him and they are worried he may not be getting his hypertension medication.