In a Rare Bi-Partisan Move, United States Congress calls for Rusesabagina’s Immediate Release

Feb 18, 2021 Mark

Press Release ( - WASHINGTON - Feb 18, 2021 - Today, Senator Patrick Leahy tweeted, “The trial of Paul Rusesabagina begins soon. 37 members of Congress have called for his release due to flaws of due process. The Rwandan Govt should consider the impact of this case on its reputation and foreign relations,” and linked to the letter that the legislators had sent. (Link at bottom of press release)

“We are very happy to have this strong bi-partisan and bi-cameral support from the U.S. Congress for the immediate release of Paul Rusesabagina as well as last week’s European Parliament resolution condemning his kidnapping and arbitrary detention.  Far from undermining Paul’s reputation as a world-renowned humanitarian, the Rwandan government has rallied the international community against the regime’s own unlawful behavior.  I continue to urge the Rwandan government instead to engage with the U.S. State Department and his lawyers to arrange for,” said Peter Choharis, Attorney for Paul Rusesabagina.

This Congressional letter, combined with last week’s resolution by the European Parliament condemning “the enforced disappearance, illegal rendition and incommunicado detention of Paul Rusesabagina,” shows that the international community is watching and aware of the fact that there will be no fair trial in Rwanda.

Choharis concluded, “I urge the Rwandan government instead to enter into a dialogue to bring Paul safely home.”

Here is the link to the letter (…).   The content is below:

Congress of the United States Washington, DC 20510

December 18, 2020

President Paul Kagame
Republic of Rwanda
Urugwiro Village
Kigali, Rwanda

Dear President Kagame,

We are writing to urge you to return Paul Rusesabagina, a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, safely to the United States to be reunited with his family. As Members of the U.S. Congress who have a strong interest in U.S. – Rwandan relations, we believe that releasing Mr. Rusesabagina on humanitarian grounds is both justified and appropriate, since he is a cancer survivor in the midst of the COVID pandemic who suffers from several chronic medical conditions.

Moreover, we write to express our grave concern with the manner in which your government extrajudicially transferred Mr. Rusesabagina from the United Arab Emirates to Rwanda and then immediately placed him in solitary confinement and charged him with multiple crimes, including terrorism. As your government is aware, U.S. deportation law provides a clear, legal procedure to deport persons for various crimes, including engaging in acts of terrorism. The U.S. deportation process complies with due process while enabling the United States to deport those who should face criminal prosecution in another country. In fact, it is our understanding that over the past two decades, the United States has deported four people to Rwanda and will deport four more to Rwanda after they complete their U.S. criminal sentences. Given this record of Rwandans being deported from the United States when the legal standards are met, your government’s resort to the extrajudicial transfer of Mr. Rusesabagina demonstrates a disregard for U.S. law and suggests a lack of confidence in the credibility of the evidence against him.

We wish to underscore the breadth of bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for your government to return Mr. Rusesabagina. Our government is monitoring his condition closely. Because it is in the strong interest of U.S. – Rwandan relations and Rwanda’s international reputation, and there are compelling humanitarian grounds for your government to return Mr. Rusesabagina to his family in the United States, we urge you to do so expeditiously.


JAMES E. RISCH United States Senator

JAMES P. MCGOVERN Member of Congress

PATRICK LEAHY United States Senator

ROBERT MENENDEZ United States Senator

CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH Member of Congress

JOHN CORNYN United States Senator

MARCO RUBIO United States Senator

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND United States Senator

RON WYDEN United States Senator

SHERROD BROWN United States Senator

CHRISTOPHER A. COONS United States Senator

ELIOT L. ENGEL Member of Congress

CORY A. BOOKER Member of Congress

DEAN PHILLIPS Member of Congress

STEVE CHABOT Member of Congress

JEFFREY A. MERKLEY United States Senator

BENJAMIN L. CARDIN United States Senator

SHELDON WHITEHOUSE United States Senator

SUSAN M. COLLINS United States Senator

TAMMY DUCKWORTH United States Senator

CHRIS VAN HOLLEN Member of Congress

MICHAEL MCCAUL Member of Congress

KAREN BASS Member of Congress

TED W. LIEU Member of Congress

JOAQUIN CASTRO Member of Congress

JAMIE RASKIN Member of Congress

STEVE COHEN Member of Congress

AL GREEN Member of Congress

GREGORY W. MEEKS Member of Congress

ANNA G. ESHOO Member of Congress

RON WRIGHT Member of Congress

LLOYD DOGGETT Member of Congress

JOE WILSON Member of Congress

GREG W ALDEN Member of Congress

WILL HURD Member of Congress

JAN SCHAKOWSKY Member of Congress

TED S. YOHO, DVM Member of Congress

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