By Jean Gatera
Arrested terror suspect Paul Rusesabagina’s propaganda organization, “the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation” has released a press statement to say that he has changed his legal team. This was announced in a press statement, signed by the foundation propagandist Kitty Kurth, this Wednesday. Before that, Rusesabagina had said he now had a new lawyer, Gatera Gashabana, to replace the pro-bono attorneys offered by the Rwanda Bar Association when he needed legal assistance.
Paul Rusesabagina who is facing trial on 13 terrorism related charges along with 16 co-defenders of the FLN militia of which he is president, faces an uphill battle in court. There is overwhelming evidence pointing to his guilt, including audio, and paper proof. Some of the co-defenders like the former FLN spokesperson Nsabimana Callixte already have pleaded guilty to all charges, and seem determined to further implicate their boss Rusesabagina.
Since his arrest on 31 this August, Rusesabagina has since almost pleaded guilty too. He apologized to victims of the terror attacks by the MRCD-FLN, recognized that he founded the terrorist militia and that he sent it money to carry out terror activities. “His new lawyer, whoever he is, needs magical powers!” a legal analyst remarked. “That’s why his propagandists like Kitty Kurth have opted for media charades like the recent press release.”
In the statement Kurth in part claims that, “Paul did not have a real choice on using these (Rwanda Bar Association) lawyers.”
This directly contradicts Rusesabagina’s own comment on the matter. In an interview with the EastAfrican, he said that he had been offered an option to choose a defense team. Furthermore, Rusesabagina repeats at every single occasion that he is treated well and humanely. “There can be no doubt that Rwanda’s courts have been fair in relation to Rusesabagina’s rights,” the legal commentator added.
When the man announced his new lawyer, proceedings were adjourned to give him time to prepare and face his pre-trial hearing with Gashabana. His wish was granted.
But now his US-based propagandists are falsely claiming they had no prior knowledge of proceedings against Rusesabagina. “Maybe they were too busy with propaganda, for instance, since it has been announced the next hearing is set for 20 this month,” a social media commentator said.
Evidently Rusesabagina’s people, including Kurth, and his family member are desperate to muddy the waters so as to obscure the truth.
This is also seen in their continued attempts to play an “international card” as a means to intimidate the Rwandan Government, with hopes that the suspect is let go without accounting for his crimes. Kurth’s statement mentions “international law” and “International lawyer” numerously and intermittently, yet Rusesabagina is facing a national court for crimes he committed in Rwanda.
“Terrorism cases are handled differently in different jurisdictions,” a legal expert observed. “Rwanda gives terror suspects all their defense rights. In some countries, terror suspects face secret trials. For example Al-Qaeda cases were never held publicly, in most countries.”
Yet Rusesabagina’s people have been raising a hue and cry because an unaccredited lawyer, flouting immigration rules and committing a crime on his way to ‘defend’ him has been turned away. This is none other than Belgian Vincent Lurquin. The latter, one of “the Foundation’s” foreign lawyers flew to Kigali on a tourist visa. But once in Rwanda he demanded access to Rusesabagina, claiming that he was the family’s appointed lawyer.
“Lurquin cannot was just an imposter that sneaked into the country. He was lucky he wasn’t detained at Kigali International Airport for attempting to violate migration and employment statutes in the country,” wrote a renowned legal expert in Kigali said.
Kurth’s press statement shows more disconnect when it blames Rusesabagina’s previous lawyers for not submitting to court that their client allegedly was “kidnapped.” In reality, Rusesabagina knows that his arrest was lawful, and did not want any false “kidnap” issue raised. In a media interview, Rusesabagina explained that he boarded a private jet thinking he was traveling to Bujumbura but instead found himself in Kigali.
It is perfectly legal to deceive a criminal or a fugitive when carrying out an arrest. It’s called sting operations in law enforcement, security analysts anywhere will point out. For instance, a drug dealer can be lured to a drop off location, just like Rusesabagina was lured to Rwanda, and arrested.