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Photo via Anadolu Agency

 

KIGALI, Rwanda - Rwanda deported a Belgian lawyer on Saturday who visited the country apparently to give legal services to Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed as a hero in the Oscar-nominated film Hotel Rwanda and who is currently facing terrorism-related charges.

Vincent Lurquin was deported and declared persona non grata for violating immigration laws, the Director-General of the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, Regis Gatarayiha, told reporters in the capital, Kigali.

Lurquin’s deportation came one day after he appeared before Rwanda's High Court Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes that is trying Rusesabagina.

The Rwanda Bar Association raised a complaint because Lurquin was not accredited to practice in Rwanda.

Lurquin entered the country Aug. 16 on a visitation visa with 30-day validity, according to Gatarayiha.

“He was granted a V1 type of visa, which allows the bearer to visit the country but not conduct any remunerated work. We were surprised to see that he appeared in court, in one of the proceedings dressed in a gown that shows that he was practicing as an advocate without accreditation,” said Gatarayiha.

The court earlier set Aug. 20 to issue a verdict against Rusesabagina, 67, but postponed it until Sept. 20.

Prosecutors have asked the court to hand down a life sentence to Rusesabagina.

He faces multiple charges including forming an illegal armed group, financing terror activities, murder, kidnapping and arson, in a trial he has boycotted since March on claims of “unfairness and lack of independence.”

The prosecution requested a sentence for each of the nine charges, ranging from 10 years to life.

They allege that Rusesabagina was behind a series of attacks against innocent civilians in Rwanda’s southern districts of Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe between 2018 and 2019. He was arrested in August 2020. - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

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