Shortly after it was announced Monday in Rwanda that Paul Rusesabagina, the true-life figure portrayed in the hit movie ''Hotel Rwanda,'' was found guilty of charges of terrorism and sentenced to 25 years in prison, both the U.S. and Rusesabagina's family roundly condemned the verdict.
''The reported lack of [a] fair trial calls into question the fairness of the verdict,'' said U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price.
''We have consistently highlighted the importance of respect for all applicable legal protections throughout these proceedings and have raised concerns that these protections were not addressed in an impartial manner consistent with Rwanda's international commitments.''
Price specifically pointed to the defendant's complaint of a ''lack of confidential, unimpeded access to his lawyers and relevant case documents and his initial lack of access to counsel.''
Rusesabagina's daughter Anaise Kanimba told Newsmax that she spoke to her father on Friday and ''he is hanging in there and, just by talking to us, is sending us strength.''
She voiced concern that her father is not receiving the proper medication in prison and that ''he is being weakened by the medication [the prison hospital] is giving him.''
Rusesabagina — now a Belgian citizen and lawful U.S. resident — was seized in Dubai a year ago and then flown by private plane — against his will, his family said — to Rwanda's capital, Kigali.
Now 67, Paul Rusesabagina has been recognized worldwide from his portrayal by Don Cheadle in the Oscar-nominated movie "Hotel Rwanda" as the savior of 1,268 fellow countrymen during the genocide that rocked the African nation in 1994.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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