Hotel hero lawyer Rwanda: ‘Evidence of his kidnapping on Kagame’s orders’

Paul Rossabjina, Belgian-Rwandan best known for the film Rwanda Hotel, to Kigali on the orders of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Rosebagena’s Belgian lawyer, Vincent Lorquin, presented an invoice at a news conference on Wednesday for the private flight on which the former hotel boss was kidnapped, against his will, from Dubai to Kigali. That invoice was sent to the address of the Rwandan presidency.

Since August 2020, Rusabagina, a Belgian, has been held in Rwanda after being kidnapped in the country. The 67-year-old was invited to Burundi, but in fact the trick was to take him to Rwanda: he was flown from Dubai to Kigali on a private plane.

Complaints against this kidnapping were filed in Brussels and the United States. An investigative judge in Brussels went to Athens, the airline’s headquarters, and found a bill for a special flight from Athens to Dubai, from Dubai to Kigali, and finally from Kigali to Athens, at the same time that Rossabagina was kidnapped. Through the US investigation, Lawyer Lorkin was able to obtain a copy of that bill.

The invoice, amounting to 120,000 euros, shows that the pilot actually flew to Dubai on August 19, but moved to Kigali only eight days later. “So this operation has been in the works for some time,” Rosabagina’s daughter Karen Kanimba said at the press conference.

Another striking fact: the bill was sent to the “President’s Office” in Kigali, and for Lorkin this is “inevitable evidence” of his involvement at the highest level in Rwanda in the kidnapping of a Belgian. “You know what happened next: my client was tortured, imprisoned, and entered a show trial,” the lawyer said.

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25 years in prison

And Lorkin demanded “urgently” to release his client and transfer him to Belgium. The man’s entourage again pointed to his precarious health. He had a stroke a few weeks ago. “His lip is deformed and half of his face is paralyzed, and this was confirmed to us by a Belgian embassy official and someone from the American authorities who can see him,” Kanimba said.

“After our repeated urgings, he was sent to the hospital, but the doctors who saw him there said he was a ‘psychiatrist’. The Belgian embassy looked for an independent doctor, but no one was found: everyone is afraid.” As for Kanimba, he must therefore be released Release her father as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, the Rwandan Court of Appeals upheld Rosabagina’s 25-year prison sentence for terrorism. Known as a fierce opponent of Kagame, Rusabagina was sentenced in September to 25 years in prison for “creating and belonging to” the National Liberation Front, an armed group accused of carrying out deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.

On Wednesday, his entourage confirmed that Rospagina did not receive a fair trial. Secretary of State Sophie Velmis (MR) also spoke in similar terms after the conviction.

UK wants to return Rwandan asylum seekers

These new discoveries come a week after the United Kingdom announced it was planning to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. “People who try to avoid the waiting list or who abuse our system will not automatically be able to settle in our country, but will be returned to a safe third country or their country of origin in a humane and expeditious manner,” the prime minister said. Boris Johnson. The plan is believed to undermine the business model of people smugglers.

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Soon there was strong criticism from NGOs, who pointed out, among other things, the dubious human rights situation in the African country. According to Johnson, Rwanda is “one of the safest countries in the world, and is internationally recognized for its track record of hosting and integrating migrants”.

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