Mystery over extradition of exiled Rwandan critic

Paul Rusesabagina

from PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI, (CAJ News) HUMAN rights groups fear the worst for a Rwandan government critic whose extradition has been marred by controversy.

It is unclear how Paul Rusesabagina ended up in custody in his homeland.

A prominent critic of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), he has since 1996 been resident in Belgium, where he obtained citizenship.

At the time of his extradition, he was living in the United States and travelled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on August 27 this year.

The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) announced it had Rusesabagina in custody in the capital Kigali, on August 31.

It could not ascertain how he ended up in the country of his birth.

Authorities have failed to provide a consistent or full account of how he was apprehended and came to be in their custody.

In particular, they have not disclosed in whose custody Rusesabagina was when he was detained in Dubai until his reappearance in Kigali.

“Rwanda has an established track record of using unlawful, cloak-and-dagger methods to target those it perceives to be a threat to the ruling party,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“The fact that Rwanda did not pursue Rusesabagina through lawful extradition proceedings suggests the authorities do not believe their evidence or fair trial guarantees would stand up to scrutiny before an independent tribunal, and so opted to circumvent the rule of law.”

Rusesabagina is best known as the manager of a luxury hotel where hundreds of people sought protection during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

After the genocide he fled fearing for his safety.

– CAJ News

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