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“Hotel Rwanda” Hero Paul Rusesabagina was being tracked, suspect Rwanda dissidents after his arrest in Kigali

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Paul Rusesabagin

Paul Rusesabagina, the real hero behind movie “Hotel Rwanda” was being hacked or tracked through spyware surveillance technology before he got arrested by Rwandan government over terror charges this week. Rwandan dissidents believe that the government was allegedly using spyware to track the country’s hero.

Paul Rusesabagina, 66, was lauded and won acclamation internationally for saving lives of 1200 Rwandans during genocide in the country. He has emerged as a major critic of President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame in recent years. On his trip to Dubai he was arrested by the authorities and had left the United Arab Emirates last week on a private jet. Few days later he was in Rwanda in handcuffs, arrested on terror charges. The case of arrest and circumstances leading to it are a mystery among Rwandan dissidents who believe that Rusesabagina was “kidnapped” in Dubai after thorough surveillance and tracking his location. Rusesabagina holds EU citizenship and lives in Belgium, and also holds United States green card.

UAE has brushed off all the allegations of its involvement in the arrest. Anonymous source to CNN reported that Rusesabagina arrived on Thursday in Dubai and went straight to a hotel, and five hours later he left for Rwanda in a private jet.

Faustin Rukundo, British citizen who is a member of Rwandan opposition group in exile said, “You cannot just show up and kidnap somebody. You must know the plan. I strongly believe there is hacking somewhere because even his inner circle did not know he was there in Dubai and even some family members did not know he was travelling. It was really kept tight.”

Rukundo believes that exiled Rwandan dissidents and also government allies are always under surveillance and operate on that assumption. “We know there are hacks and surveillance. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you have information and you oppose Kigali, that is it, if you make a mistake you are finished”, he said.

The same belief has also been backed by former Rwandan prime minister Faustin Twagiramungu. He is a fierce critic of Kagame’s government and lives in Belgium in exile. He said, “We know they have the methods to follow us, but we don’t know how they use it. We sometimes have to change our telephones, either by week or by month.”

Kagame,62, is a veteran leader who has won global praise for uplifting the country and bringing stability and economic development in Rwanda after 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. He has also brough gender equality and has boosted literacy in the country. But since Kagame became president in 2000, he has also been accused of authoritarianism and intolerance against any criticism or threat to his regime. He recently won the 2017 elections with 99% votes. Rwandan government has been accused of targeting exiled dissidents.

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