A Rwandan court in the capital Kigali on Monday upheld a 25-year jail sentence for Paul Rusesabagina, a former hotelier portrayed as a hero in a film called “Hotel Rwanda.”
Rusesabagina, 67, was last September convicted on eight counts related to acts of terrorism committed by the National Liberation Front (FLN) in 2018 which claimed the lives of nine civilians in Rwanda’s southwest.
But prosecution in February appealed on grounds that the lower court had handed Rusesabagina a lenient sentence.
However, on Monday the appeals court led by Francois Regis said that “there was no reason to extend his sentence.”
Rusesabagina, who was not in court Monday faced multiple charges including forming an illegal armed group, financing terror activities, murder, kidnap and arson in a trial he boycotted, claiming that there was “unfairness and a lack of independence.”
Of the 20 other defendants in the case, the court reduced the sentence only for Callixte Nsabimana, known as Sankara, who was a spokesman for the FLN, to 15 from 20 years in prison for his role in terrorist attacks on Rwanda and mobilization for terrorism activities.
The court said Nsabimana was cooperative during the trial.
Rusesabagina was made famous by “Hotel Rwanda,” where he saved over 1,000 ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed more than 1 million lives.
However, survivors and experts disputed the story as exaggerated.