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'Hotel Rwanda' inspiration denied bail again as court says he may escape

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KIGALI (Reuters) - Paul Rusesabagina, depicted as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and now on trial for terrorism, was denied bail on Friday for a second time, with the judge citing he might escape.

“He does not admit that he is Rwandan, if he is released, he may escape to the place he calls home,” judge Adolphe Udahemuka said in a hearing in the capital Kigali.

Rusesabagina, a Belgian citizen who had been residing in the United States, was also denied bail last month, despite vowing not to try to escape from Rwanda during the trial, where he may face up to life imprisonment if convicted.

The political dissident, who says he was tricked into returning to Rwanda, declined to plead guilty to 13 charges facing him and demanded he be allowed to plead to each separate count.

On Thursday, Rusesabagina’s family called on the United States, the European Union and Belgium to appeal for his release from prison.

They say he has been denied his choice of defence lawyers and his defence team was instead appointed by the government.

Rusesabagina remained silent in court after his bail was denied for a second time. He had requested bail on health grounds, saying he was ill and had a history of thrombosis, cancer and blood pressure-related ailments.

Reporting by Giulia Paravicini; Editing by Mark Potter

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