UK

Rwanda president Paul Kagame like ‘Putin of Africa’, Bill Browder claims

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Rwanda president Paul Kagame (PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Rwanda president Paul Kagame (PA) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Rwanda president Paul Kagame (PA)

The president of Rwanda “is like the Putin of Africa”, anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder has said.

Mr Browder made the comparison between Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Russian president Vladimir Putin on BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

He used the example of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager hero on whom the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda was based.

Mr Rusesabagina was sentenced in 2021 to 25 years in prison in Rwanda on terrorism charges. He was released after serving two years and returned to the US, where he now lives.

Anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder speaking to the media
Anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder speaking to the media Anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder speaking to the media (PA)

“I know this story very intimately because, the hero of the movie Hotel Rwanda, the guy who saved 1,200 people during the genocide, he was critical of Paul Kagame,” Mr Browder said.

“He was then kidnapped, brought back to Rwanda and sentenced to 25 years in a trumped-up trial.

“The idea that we’re going to be sending political refugees to a country that’s like that is just absurd.”

Mr Browder added that the whole Rwanda migration plan should be “torn up”.

“The whole thing should be torn up and thrown out,” he said.

“If we want to stop uncontrolled migration there are other ways, but Rwanda is just completely absurd.”

Mr Browder, is the head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, and a long-time critic of Mr Putin for more than a decade since he tried to expose the alleged looting of his Russian investments by allegedly corrupt officials.

In 2009, Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer he hired to investigate what had happened to his money, died in Russian custody.

Following Mr Magnitsky’s death, Mr Browder pushed for anti-corruption laws bearing the lawyer’s name to be introduced around the world.