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After landing in Dubai on Thursday, Rusesabagina went to a hotel, said the official, before taking off five hours later from Al Maktoum airport just after midnight.

“Mr. Paul came and left legally,” the UAE official told CNN.

A longtime critic of President Paul Kagame’s rule, his travel immediately raises questions why he got on the jet, knowing he would face charges in Rwanda. 

Days after his departure from Dubai, the 66-year-old human rights activist surfaced in Rwanda, paraded in handcuffs, facing terror related charges.

A spokesman for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) Thierry Murangira, speaking from Kigali, would not go into details about how and where Rusesabagina was apprehended, saying that he has to answer “charges of serious crime.”

“This was done with international cooperation subject to an international arrest warrant,” he said.

However, the UAE official confirmed that there is no agreement between the Gulf state and Rwanda to extradite criminals or wanted people.

They said that Rusesabagina had visited Dubai twice in the last few years and that he raised no suspicions from authorities in the UAE, because he wasn’t on any wanted lists.

The RIB did not respond to queries about the apparent discrepancies.

Family kidnap fears

Rusesabagina’s family told CNN that they believe he was kidnapped, but have no proof of this.

The new information coming from the UAE deepens the mystery of his arrest and raises new questions about claims made by Rwandan authorities. 

Rusesabagina, travelling on his own, arrived in Dubai on an Emirates flight from Chicago last Thursday evening, said the official. 

Sometime that same evening Rusesabagina checked in by phone with his wife and daughter, the family told CNN. 

“That is the last time we talked to him, that is the last time we heard from him and ever since, it has just been silence,” said his son, Trésor Rusesabagina. 

He said he was surprised that his father had even ventured to the UAE.

Though his father did travel extensively, he had recently curtailed his trips because of the pandemic, and the family had long feared the formidable intelligence network of the Rwandan government. 

“I was shocked to hear he was in Dubai, that he was anywhere near Africa,” he said. 

Rwandan agents have regularly followed Paul Rusesabagina for over a decade, invading his home and threatening his life, they claimed.

His family are also concerned for his health because he is a cancer survivor and heart patient who requires daily medication.

They have not had contact with him since his disappearance and have requested to visit him immediately.

The RIB and Rwandan leadership figures said earlier that the charges that Rusesabagina faces are unrelated to politics.

The RIB says he is accused of supporting terror groups, calling for violence, and involvement in specific acts of terror.

Pressed on those specifics, on Tuesday RIB spokesperson Murangira told CNN that the investigation centered around alleged crimes against civilians in two Rwandan districts in June and December 2018.

Murangira said that an investigator has 15 days to determine whether Rusesabagina should stay in custody, that he has the right to a lawyer, and the right to speak to his family.

Rusesabagina — who gained prominence for saving 1,200 Rwandans during the country’s genocide by sheltering them in the hotel he managed — inspired the acclaimed 2004 Hollywood film starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo.
Rusesabagina and his supporters have long maintained that he became a target of President Kagame’s government after sustained criticism of the regime and the conduct of the Rwandan Patriotic Front in ending the genocide in 1994.

Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the Rwandan genocide, which was led by Hutu extremists.

Opposition voices silenced

Rusesabagina also holds Belgian citizenship and a US Green Card, says his family and foundation. A US State Department official told CNN that they are aware of his arrest and are monitoring the situation.

He has not lived in Rwanda since 1996, when he survived an assassination attempt.

While widely praised for transforming Rwanda in the aftermath, Kagame has also faced widespread criticism for human rights abuses and silencing opposition voices.

Opposition politicians in Rwanda have often found themselves jailed on what they say are trumped-up charges for standing against Kagame in polls.

In one of the more widely publicized cases, Diane Rwigara and her mother were jailed when the former attempted to run for president in the same election as Kagame in 2017.

Rwanda accuses a pastor's daughter of treason and espionage. Her family says the charges are fabricated
Rwigara was acquitted of all charges including insurrection and forging of documents in 2018.

Victoire Ingabire, the leader of the FDU-Inkingi party, was jailed in 2010 for charges that included collaborating with a terrorist organization, “divisionism,” “minimizing the genocide” and “genocide ideology.”

She had returned to the country from the Netherlands to contest in the 2010 presidential elections after years of living abroad but was barred from running, and served eight years of a 15-year prison sentence before receiving a presidential pardon in 2018.

Rusesabagina is the recipient of several human rights awards for his efforts during the genocide, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and the Human Rights Prize by the Lantos Foundation in 2011, among others.

CNN’s Stephanie Busari and Eoin McSweeney contributed to this report.

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Tony Chung: Hong Kong activist detained near US embassy charged

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Hong Kong teen activist Tony Chung has been charged under a new national security law, just days after he was detained outside the US consulate.

Mr Chung, 19, had reportedly planned to enter the consulate and claim asylum.

The activist faces the possibility of life in prison if found guilty of secession, conspiracy to publish seditious content and money laundering.

Mr Chung, the second person to be charged under the law, was denied bail by the court.

The controversial law was imposed by China on Hong Kong in June, making it easier to punish protesters and reducing the city’s autonomy.

What do we know about his detention?

According to the South China Morning Post, Mr Chung was detained on Tuesday morning at a coffee shop opposite the US consulate.

UK-based activist group Friends of Hong Kong said he had planned to enter and claim asylum. Instead, footage taken from near the consulate showed him being carried away by plain-clothes police.

Mr Chung, who was a former member of pro-independence group Studentlocalism, said activists had not given up fighting.

“At the right moment, we will come out to protest again,” he told BBC Chinese in a recent interview.

“Yes we lose at this moment. But the road to democracy is always long.”

He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on 7 January next year.

What is Hong Kong’s new security law?

Hong Kong’s national security law was imposed by Beijing in June after months of huge pro-democracy protests last year against an extradition bill.

The new law makes secession, subversion of the central government, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces punishable by up to life in prison.

In July, several were arrested under the new powers, including a man carrying a “Hong Kong Independence” flag.

  • China’s new law: Why is Hong Kong worried?

  • UK makes citizenship offer to Hong Kong residents

The law gives Beijing extensive powers it has never had before to shape life in the territory.

Critics say it effectively puts an end to the freedoms guaranteed by Beijing for 50 years after British rule ended in Hong Kong in 1997, but China says it will return stability to the city.

After the passing of the security law, the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would offer up to three million Hong Kong residents a chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship.

China has condemned this, saying it would take countermeasures against the UK should it grant residency to Hong Kong residents.

Related Topics

  • Hong Kong national security law

  • China
  • Hong Kong

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AOC: ‘I don’t know if I’m really going to be staying in the House forever’

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President Donald Trump has taken particular pleasure in warning that Ocasio-Cortez poses a threat to Schumer, while describing prominent Democratic leaders including presidential nominee Joe Biden as beholden to her more liberal agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez is also viewed as one of the likeliest inheritors of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ progressive coalition if she were to run for president. The congresswoman, who endorsed Sanders in the 2020 White House race, turned 31 earlier this month and would meet the constitutional presidential age requirement of 35 by November 2024.

Another possibility is Ocasio-Cortez joining a potential Biden administration in some capacity. She was tapped in May to serve as a co-chair of the Biden-Sanders joint task force on climate change — one of six working groups meant to advise the Biden campaign on policy.

But Ocasio-Cortez told Vanity Fair she did not “want to aspire to a quote-unquote higher position just for the sake of that title or just for the sake of having a different or higher position.”

“I truly make an assessment to see if I can be more effective,” she said. “And so, you know, I don’t know if I could necessarily be more effective in an administration, but, for me that’s always what the question comes down to.”



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Covid: Macron promises solidarity for new French lockdown

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Schools and universities will remain open and officer workers will stay home as President Emmanuel Macron places France into lockdown for the whole of November.

There will also be mandatory rapid Covid-19 testing for all international arrivals at the country’s ports and airports to ensure the virus is not brought in from other territories.

The president announced the new measures in a national address, pledging solidarity with French citizens adding “we will all get there together”.

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