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‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero to be freed from Rwanda prison

Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the Hollywood blockbuster “Hotel Rwanda,” has been freed from prison after his sentence was commuted by Rwandan President Paul Kagame in response to his appeal for clemency.

In September 2021, Rusesabagina was found guilty of terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Rusesabagina, a dual citizen of Rwanda and Belgium who resides in the United States, will be released on Saturday, March 25, along with 19 other persons who had also been found guilty.

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“Commutation of sentence does not extinguish the underlying conviction,” said Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo on Friday.

“Rwanda notes the constructive role of the US government in creating conditions for dialogue on this issue, as well as the facilitation provided by the State of Qatar,” she added.

Rusesabagina was arrested by Rwandan officials while on overseas trip in 2020, in what his family claims was a kidnap.

Rusesabagina was found guilty of being a member of the MRCD-FLN terror group at his trial in 2021. According to a government statement, two 2018 attacks that killed nine people were a particular focus.

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Before his conviction and imprisonment, Rusesabagina, was an outspoken critic of President Kagame.

His story was adapted into the Hollywood blockbuster “Hotel Rwanda,” starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo, and he is most known for hiding hundreds of Rwandans during the country’s genocide.

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