I make no secret of the fact that I neither trust nor like Paul Kagame. At one point, I thought he was the hero of the story. That’s the narrative he likes to promote. It is the only narrative he will allow in Rwanda where you can be convicted of treason if you say anything against him. Let that sit in. If you have any issue, any issue at all, with Kagame’s policies or positions it is considered treason. If you still think Rwanda is a free country, you may want to leave this page now.
Yesterday, CNN has this piece with an interview with Kagame:
In that piece, Kagame is asked about how Paul Rusesabagina was brought to Rwanda. You see in August, Rusesabagina thought he was boarding a plane for Burundi and was shocked when he arrived in Kigali. En route, he was blindfolded and tied up. Yeah, sounds a lot like how I prefer to travel.
In any case, Kagame claims that this was all done legally and properly. He said:
If Paul Rusesabagina got in a car with someone he trusted and we were working with that person, would we be responsible for what happened?
Yes. Yes, you would be responsible. Maybe English words have a different meaning in Rwanda (NOT) but do you listen to yourself?
Meanwhile, this happened at yesterday’s State Department press briefing:
QUESTION: Just briefly, Rwanda. The trial of Paul Rusesabagina — he has been charged with terrorism, among other things. Do you have any concerns about the trial? His family says he was abducted. Do you believe that that’s a concern as well in this case?
MR PRICE: Well, I would say broadly that the department and our embassy in Kigali, we’ve continued to urge the Rwandan Government to provide humane treatment, respect for the rule of law, and to provide a fair and transparent legal process, including access to legal counsel of his choosing for Mr. Rusesabagina. We continue to underscore that. We continue to underscore that the legal process adjudicating the charges against Mr. Rusesabagina must be fair, transparent, respect the rule of law, and be consistent with Rwanda’s own international human rights obligations and commitments. We have engaged at the highest levels in Kigali and with Rwanda’s ambassador to the United States on this matter. When it comes to how Mr. Rusesabagina arrived in Rwanda, we certainly do urge the Government of Rwanda to be fully transparent about the circumstances of his arrival in Rwanda.
It’s past the time of “urging” and “asking.” While it is good that the question was asked, the response is anemic, at best. Paul Rusesabagina is a permanent U.S. resident. As such, he should get the protections that accompany that status. Clearly, that is not happening.
If that bothers you, please sign and share this petition. You can also call your representatives in Congress. Please leave any questions in the comments section. Thank you!