KIGALI (Reuters) - Paul Rusesabagina, the man who saved more than 1,200 people from genocide in events depicted in the Oscar-nominated film “Hotel Rwanda,” has been implicated in the terrorism case against a Rwandan opposition leader.
Martin Ngoga, Rwanda’s prosecutor general, told Reuters on Wednesday that Rwandan courts would summon Rusesabagina because investigations indicated he also funded the terrorism activities that opposition leader Victoire Ingabire is being held for.
Ingabire, the outspoken head of the unregistered United Democratic Forces (UDF) party, was arrested by Rwandan police on October 14 after they said investigations into a former FDLR rebel commander facing terrorism charges also implicated her.
She pleaded not guilty at a hearing Monday and was denied bail Tuesday after a court said the charges against her were of a serious nature. Ingabire says the case against her is politically motivated.
“We have evidence that Paul Rusesabagina is one of those others who have been financing the same genocidal rebels of the FDLR,” Ngoga said.
“We have the dates of transactions made. Money was sent from San Antonio, Texas, and received in different banks in Bujumbura and Dar es Salaam. The people who received this money told us what the money was for,” he said.
Rusesabagina, whose true-life story was acted by award-winning actor Don Cheadle, lives in the United States and tours Western countries lecturing on Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
He is an outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame, saying an ethnic Tutsi elite now runs the central African country and
risks reigniting violence there.
Earlier this month, he welcomed the publication of a United Nations report that said Kagame’s troops carried out atrocities in Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s.
His story has also won him audiences with a number of high-profile personalities including former U.S. President George W. Bush. He received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for heroism during Rwanda’s genocide.
Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered in the central African nation in 100 days from April 6, 1994.
“Hotel Rwanda” is a 2004 movie telling Rusesabagina’s story. He was a hotel manager who used his connections with the Hutu elite to protect Tutsis and moderate Hutus fleeing militiamen.
Ngoga called on the United States to help Rwanda investigate Rusesabagina’s case.
“The Rwandan law allows prosecution in absentia. The transactions are enough to offer the evidence. Rwanda has already made contacts with the war crimes office in the U.S. and this evidence has been submitted,” he said.
“The U.S. has shown signs of cooperating. If terrorism is a crime in the USA, then what about financial support of a genocidal organization?”
Editing by David Clarke and Tim Pearce