The sentence of Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” for saving hundreds of countrymen from genocide but was convicted of terrorism offences years later in a widely criticized trial, has been commuted Rwanda’s government said Friday.
His 25-year sentence was commuted by presidential order after a request for clemency, government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said.
Rusesabagina, a U.S. resident and Belgian citizen, is expected to be released on Saturday, she said.
“Rwanda notes the constructive role of the US government in creating conditions for dialogue on this issue, as well as the facilitation provided by the state of Qatar,” Makolo said.
The case was described by the U.S. and others as unfair.
Rusesabagina disappeared in 2020 during a visit to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and appeared days later in Rwanda in handcuffs.
His family say he was kidnapped and taken to Rwanda against his will to stand trial.
Rusesabagina said his arrest was in response to his criticism of longtime Rwandan President Paul Kagame over alleged human rights abuses.
Kagame’s government has repeatedly denied targeting dissenting voices with arrests and extrajudicial killings.