'Hotel Rwanda' Figure Rusesabagina To Be Released From Prison

Paul Rusesabagina, who was portrayed as a hero in the Hollywood film "Hotel Rwanda" and is serving a 25-year sentence in Rwanda on terrorism charges, will be released on Saturday, a Rwanda government source said on Friday.

Rusesabagina was sentenced in September 2021 over his ties to an organization opposed to Kagame's rule. He denied all the charges and refused to take part in the trial that he and his supporters called a political sham.

Rusesabagina will initially be flown to Doha, and then on to the United States, the source said, adding that his release comes after Rusesabagina wrote a letter to President Paul Kagame seeking clemency.

Washington designated him as "wrongly detained", partly because of what it called the lack of fair trial guarantees. Rusesabagina has U.S. permanent residency rights.

Rusesabagina, a vocal critic of Kagame, acknowledged having a leadership role in the opposition group but denied responsibility for attacks carried out by its armed wing. The trial judges said the two were indistinguishable.

Earlier this month, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said there were discussions about "resolving" the fate of Paul Rusesabagina.