Doha, Qatar | THE INDEPENDENT | Paul Rusesabagina, the hero in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, has been given a presidential pardon in a deal facilitated by recent World Cup hosts Qatar. The outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame, was serving a 25-year sentence on terrorism charges.
Rusesabagina, 68, was accompanied by a United States embassy official as he was moved from prison to the residence of Qatar’s ambassador in the Rwandan capital Kigali late on Friday. He is expected to be flown to Qatar then the US later.
A statement released by Qatar government spokesman Dr. Majed Al Ansari confirmed a decision had been reached in Doha after negotiantions. Rwanda President Paul Kagame early this week visited Qatar.
Rwanda has since confirmed that Rusesabagina and four others will be freed.
Welcome today’s release of Paul Rusesabagina. Thankful to know Paul will be rejoining his family soon. Grateful to the Rwandan Government for making reunion possible. Also appreciate assistance by Government of Qatar.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 24, 2023
FULL QATAR SPOKESMAN STATEMENT
We confirm the official Rwandan statements that Mr. Paul Rusesabagina’s sentence will be commuted and he will be released in accordance with a presidential decree. The procedure for his transfer to the State of Qatar is under way; and he will then head to the USA.
This issue was discussed during meetings that brought together Qatari and Rwandan officials at the highest levels in the context of bridging views
The State of Qatar has been able to play the role of a neutral mediator in many files and issues, which has made it a reliable international partner in resolving disputes through peaceful and diplomatic means and bringing the views of the various parties closer together.
Qatar’s facilitation role, reflects the mutual trust and strong relations between the State of Qatar and partners in Rwanda and the United States.
THE Rusesabagina story