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Rwandan Court Refuses to Lengthen Sentence of 'Hotel Rwanda' Hero


An empty chair where Paul Rusesabagina, the "Hotel Rwanda" hero, who is absent from the verdict as he has been boycotting the procedure, is seen as as the accused sit at the Court of Appeal, Kigali, Rwanda.

The Rwandan man portrayed as a hero in the movie "Hotel Rwanda" should not have his 25-year sentence extended to life in prison, a Rwandan court ruled Monday.

Paul Rusesabagina was convicted in September on eight terrorism charges for his role in a group opposing President Paul Kagame.

Rusesabagina said that he was a leader in the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change but had no role in the group's armed wing, the National Liberation Front, which has carried out attacks.

He refused to take part in the September trial, calling it a sham, and was not present at Monday's ruling.

Prosecutors called the 25-year sentence too lenient.

His family has lobbied for his release, saying he is ill.

Rusesabagina saved around 1,200 people by sheltering them in a hotel during the country's 1994 genocide, which saw over 800,000 killed.

Some information in this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse

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