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U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro filed a congressional resolution Tuesday that demands the release of San Antonio resident Paul Rusesabagina from a Rwanda prison.

Castro and Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., condemned Rusesabagina’s imprisonment on terrorism charges that critics say were fabricated by his chief political enemy, the country’s longtime president, Paul Kagame.

“Mr. Paul Rusesabagina has been unfairly targeted and imprisoned for using his elevated platform and prominence to oppose an oppressive Rwandan government,” Castro, D-San Antonio, said in a statement Tuesday.

The resolution says Rusesabagina was “extrajudicially transferred” from the United Arab Emirates to Kigali and immediately placed in solitary confinement.

It also asked that Rusesabagina, a 67-year-old cancer survivor, receive medical care from the Rwandan government and that the Biden administration “raise the case of Paul Rusesabagina and to press for his immediate release.”

Rusesabagina’s family lives in San Antonio and are residents of Castro’s district.

Rusesabagina was arrested by the Rwandan government in August 2020 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Sept. 20, 2021.

He became famous after the release of the 2004 Hollywood film, “Hotel Rwanda,” which was based on his effort to save almost 1,300 people during Rwanda’s bloody civil war.

He fell out with Kagame, a former military leader who has been in power 22 years, and became a Belgian citizen and permanent U.S. resident living in San Antonio and Brussels.

“I hope this step will hasten Paul’s return home to San Antonio to restore his family and his health,” said Bill Israel, a retired St. Mary’s associate professor of communication studies who has advocated for Rusesabagina’s release.

He called on “the U.S. government to hold the Kagame regime to account for its criminal conduct against Paul, his family and a host of other Rwandans who’ve been tortured, disappeared or murdered because they dared criticize the Kagame regime”

Kagame’s government has been accused by Human Rights Watch of practicing arbitrary detention, ill treatment, torture and possibly murder. He’s run the Central African country since 2000 and is credited with leading it into a period of stability and prosperity, with a focus on reconciling its two major tribal groups after the bloodletting of the 1990s.

Advocates for the regime say Rwanda has a “performance-based” government led by top leadership that is “focused on unity, not division,” and is radically transforming the country.

Rusesabagina’s son, Trésor, was in a class last spring led by Israel that St. Mary’s president, Tom Mengler, said was electronically spied on by two people, one of whom was based in the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, D.C. One of those at the class was Kathleen Tobin Krueger, whose husband, Bob, was a former U.S. senator and ambassador to Burundi & Botswana.

“This was not the first time Rwandan nationals have spied on the Kruegers in the United States,” she wrote in an email. “During a period in 2008 and 2009, when the Rusesabaginas often stayed overnight at the Kruegers’ home, neighbors were approached by an identified Rwandan national asking, ‘Which house is the Kruegers?’”

The San Antonio Express-News

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