After an unlawful international kidnapping and rendition and more than 900 days of unlawful detention in Rwanda, international human rights hero and political dissident Paul Rusesabagina has been released from prison and returned to his home and family in Texas.
Mr. Rusesabagina, whose heroism during the Rwandan Genocide was portrayed in the Academy-Award nominated film “Hotel Rwanda,” was lured from his San Antonio home to Dubai in August of 2020 by Rwandan state operatives, believing that he was on his way to a speaking arrangement in Burundi. In Dubai, Rusesabagina boarded a private charter jet that, instead of taking him to Burundi, brought him to Rwanda.
Mr. Rusesabagina has been an outspoken critic of Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame, who has been accused of human rights abuses and targeting his political opponents in Rwanda and abroad.
Hilliard Shadowen LLP filed a lawsuit in December 2020 against Greek-based jet charter Gainjet for its role in the unlawful kidnapping and detention of Mr. Rusesabagina.
The Complaint states that Mr. Rusesabagina—a cancer survivor—was restrained, tortured, and denied food, sleep, and medication upon his arrival and arrest. After a seven-month-long, widely criticized trial, Mr. Rusesabagina was convicted by a Rwandan tribunal and held in Rwandan prison until legal and bipartisan political pressure from both the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration led to his pardon and release.
“In a world increasingly beset by false narratives, manufactured ambiguity, and fake news, the legal system and lawsuits like this one become even more important. We are going to shine a lot of light on this situation. And I think the facts will show that Paul Kagame is a tyrant, not a president, and that GainJet is better described as a flying prison cell than a private jet charter,” said attorney Nicholas Shadowen of Hilliard Shadowen LLP at a press conference on December 15, 2020.
Mr. Rusesabagina’s arrival back in San Antonio, Texas with his family was announced by his daughter Carine Kanimba on March 29, who tweeted that “our family is finally reunited today.”
Hilliard Shadowen LLP is proud to welcome Mr. Rusesabagina home, and will continue to fight on his behalf until justice is served.