By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden on Friday welcomed the release of "Hotel Rwanda" hero Paul Rusesabagina by Rwanda.
"Paul's family is eager to welcome him back to the United States, and I share their joy at today's good news," the president said in a statement.
Biden thanked the Rwandan government for making the reunion possible, and the Qatari government for facilitating Rusesabagina’s release and return to the US.
"I add my gratitude to those across the U.S. Government who have worked with the Government of Rwanda to achieve today's happy outcome," he said.
Rusesabagina inspired the Hollywood film "Hotel Rwanda," in which, as a hotelier, he is depicted as having sheltered refugees during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
The 2004 film told the story of how Rusesabagina used his influence as manager of the Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali to bribe and convince military officials to secure a safe escape for 1,200 people who had sought refuge in the hotel.
Rusesabagina, 68, was convicted on multiple counts in September 2021 in a trial he boycotted, claiming there was “unfairness and a lack of independence.”
The conviction was related to acts of terrorism committed by the National Liberation Front (FLN) rebel group in 2018, which claimed the lives of nine civilians in southwest Rwanda.