East Africa

Hotel Rwanda trial: Belgian lawyer deported

A Belgian lawyer defending Paul Rusesabagina, an ex-hotelier whose tale inspired the film Hotel Rwanda, based on Rwanda's 1994 genocide, has been deported by Rwandan authorities.

A Belgian lawyer defending Paul Rusesabagina, an ex-hotelier whose tale inspired the film Hotel Rwanda, based on Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, has been deported by Rwandan authorities.

Vincent Lurquin was deported on Saturday, according to officials, for working without a permission.

He had previously appeared in court to defend Mr Rusesabagina, who faces nine terrorism-related accusations, including the formation and support of an armed rebel organization.

According to the AFP news agency, Mr Lurquin is Mr Rusesabagina’s lawyer in Belgium but has not been representing him during the trial.

He has been silent about his expulsion.

Mr Lurquin was in the country on a visitor’s visa, according to Rwanda’s director general of immigration, Regis Gatarayiha, and had not been recognized by the Rwandan Bar Association.

Mr Rusesabagina, 66, rose to prominence after Don Cheadle portrayed him in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, which depicted his attempts to save hundreds of people during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

In 1996, he fled Rwanda and sought refuge in Belgium, then the United States. He became the leader of Rwanda’s opposition MRCD organization while living in exile. It has an armed branch, the FLN, that assaults Rwandans.

Mr Rusesabagina has rejected the allegations leveled against him, accusing the government of kidnapping him and returning him to Rwanda.

He was detained on the basis of an international warrant, according to officials.

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