By Joël Matriche and Kristof Clerix

Posted today at 6:00 p.m.

Manager of the Hôtel des Mille Collines, owned by Sabena, the former Belgian airline, in the heart of Kigali, Paul Rusesabagina had not yet celebrated his 40th birthday when, on April 6, 1994, a surface-to-air missile hit full force the Falcon-50 which brings back Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana from Tanzania. The event triggered a genocide which, in a few weeks, marked the death of more than 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus.

Immediately, Paul Rusesabagina, whose wife is Tutsi, takes refuge in the hotel under his charge, opening the door to 1,268 other refugees, protecting them – in controversial circumstances – from the militias. A rescue staged by Irishman Terry George in the film Rwanda Hotel, in 2004.

Living in Belgium with his family since 1996 and become one of the most vocal opponents of the current president, Paul Kagame, Paul Rusesabagina, 67, was arrested at the end of August 2020 in Rwanda. He faces nine charges, including terrorism, and risks ending his days in prison.

This informed dissident, whose reciprocal enmities with the authorities in Kigali were known, found himself handcuffed at the end of the 2020 summer vacation, a prisoner exhibited to the press by the Rwandan Bureau of Investigation … The Belgian citizen had taken off from San Antonio airport (Texas), where he resides part of the year, in order to travel to Burundi. However, when his flight stopped in the United Arab Emirates, a country which has excellent relations with Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina boarded a private plane which he believed would take him to Bujumbura. In fact, he ended up in Kigali, where his trial opened in February.

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The relatives of Mr. Rusesabagina considered that the latter’s communications had been overheard by the Rwandan intelligence services. A suspicion that grew when, as part of this collaborative investigation conducted by The evening and Knack in collaboration with Forbidden Stories, Amnesty International and fifteen other media, one of the iPhones of Carine Kanimba – one of Paul Rusesabagina’s daughters -, analyzed by Amnesty International’s Security Lab, revealed recent traces of intrusion .

“I had booked my father’s flight to Dubai, he had already arranged himself to go from Dubai to Burundi”, says Carine Kanimba, formal on the fact that“He would never go to Rwanda of his own free will, because the Rwandan government has already tried to kill him.” “” They have already entered our house in Belgium on several occasions. (…) A few years ago we received the audio recording of two people talking. They were two members of the Rwandan Bureau of Investigation, they were planning to poison my father, but also to put child pornography photos in his computer. They had this equipment, they just had to be able to get close to his computer. Then they would have alerted the FBI to arrest him. And the same would have happened in Belgium. My father went to the police to file a complaint. “

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