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Rwanda Arrests The Man Who Inspired The Hollywood Film 'Hotel Rwanda'

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The man who inspired the Hollywood film "Hotel Rwanda" has been arrested. Rwandan authorities have charged him with murder and terrorism. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: In the movie, Paul Rusesabagina is played by Don Cheadle. He plays a hotel manager giving Tutsis refuge during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In one scene, he risks his own life, giving a soldier a fake guest list.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOTEL RWANDA")

DON CHEADLE: (As Paul Rusesabagina) It is the guest list, sir.

MDUDUZI MABASO: (As lieutenant) Are you trying to make a fool of me?

CHEADLE: (As Paul Rusesabagina) No. We stopped taking names after the president was murdered.

PERALTA: The real-life Paul Rusesabagina was given the Medal of Freedom by President Bush. In recent years, he's been living in exile as a prominent critic of President Paul Kagame. Yesterday he was paraded in handcuffs by Rwandan authorities.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: He has been subject of an international arrest warrant, wanted to answer charges of serious crime.

PERALTA: The spokesman for Rwanda's Investigation Bureau said two years ago, Rusesabagina organized cross-border attacks against Rwandan citizens.

Was your dad organizing armed groups to attack in Rwanda?

ANAISE KANIMBA: No, no. Our father has been working as a humanitarian and has been working as a political opponent.

PERALTA: That is Rusesabagina's daughter, Anaise Kanimba. She says the last time they heard from their father was last Thursday after he arrived in Dubai for a meeting. The government of Rwanda, she says, must have kidnapped him there and all because, she says, he was a critic of the government.

KANIMBA: It is terrifying. It is terrifying because we know how the government treats people. We know that they've tortured people. People have disappeared in their hands.

PERALTA: Indeed, President Kagame's government has a history of bringing bogus charges against political rivals, and it also has a history of going beyond its borders to settle political scores. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Lemongo, Kenya.

(SOUNDBITE OF GABRIELLE CHILLMARK'S "FOREST AIR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.