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Prosecutors challenge Hotel Rwanda hero sentence

SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS—Rusesabagina

Prosecutors have filed an appeal against the sentence of Paul Rusesabagina, the man portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about the Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, 67, was sentenced to 25 years in jail last month after being found guilty of backing a rebel group behind deadly attacks in 2018 and 2019.

Rwandan prosecutors had sought a life sentence against him and had indicated they were not happy with the decision to hand a lesser punishment than they had wanted.

Rusesabagina had pulled out of the trial, which rights groups, supporters and his family denounced as a sham.

Neither he nor his lawyers were in court for the verdict, in which his co-defendants were sentenced to between three and 20 years.

On Wednesday, Rusesabagina’s daughter Carine Kanimba said the prosecution’s move to appeal against the sentence showed the trial was politically motivated.

It is not clear from the prosecutor’s statement on Wednesday whether the appeal is against the jail sentence or the wider ruling.

It noted that it had filed “an appeal against the judgement of the High Court of 20 September 2021” referring to the case against Rusesabagina and his co-accused.

The appeal court is to later decide on the date when it will start hearing the appeal.—BBC

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