Announcement from a spokesperson for the Rwandan government.
Paul Rusesabagina, who was portrayed as a hero in the Hollywood movie Hotel Rwanda and was serving a 25-year prison sentence in Rwanda on “terrorism” charges, has received his sentence by presidential order.
A spokesman for the Rwandan government announced this on Friday.
Rusesabagina is expected to be flown initially to Doha, the capital of Qatar, and then to the United States, a government source told Reuters news agency, adding that Rusesabagina was released after he wrote a letter to President Paul Kagame expressing leniency early.
Rusesabagina has permanent residency rights in the US. Washington labeled him “unjustly detained”, in part because of what it called Rwanda’s lack of due process guarantees.
Rusesabagina became a global celebrity after the release of Hotel Rwanda, in which he portrayed risking his life to shelter hundreds of people as a manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali during the 1994 genocide when ethnic Hutus killed more than 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority.
American actor Don Cheadle was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Rusesabagina in the 2004 film.
Rusesabagina later used his notoriety to highlight what he described as human rights violations by the government of Kagame, a Tutsi rebel commander who took power after his troops conquered Kigali and stopped the genocide.
This is a breaking story. More to follow.