Paul Rusesabagina is best known as a former manager of the upscale Hotel de Mille Collines in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, where he sheltered more than 1,200 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 genocide. He held machete-wielding killers at bay, plying them with beer and bribes, in a story made famous by the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda.”
A vocal critic of President Paul Kagame’s government, Rusesabagina has lived in self-imposed exile in Belgium and the United States for some 20 years, successfully evading Kagame’s attempts to capture him—until now.
Last month, he flew from Chicago to Dubai for what was supposed to be a short business trip. After landing on Aug. 27, he sent a message to his family on WhatsApp, wishing his grandson a happy birthday. But his relatives’ responses were never received; the next time they saw him was on television four days later, shackled and in the custody of Rwandan authorities in Kigali. He wore a puzzled expression as officials announced he had been detained on a raft of charges including terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder.