(CNN) — Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda” and had been sentenced to prison in Rwanda, has had his sentence commuted by the country’s President Paul Kagame after his request for clemency, officials in Rwanda said Friday.
Rusesabagina was found guilty on terrorism-related charges in September 2021 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
“Commutation of sentence does not extinguish the underlying conviction,” said government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo on Friday.
“Rwanda notes the constructive role of the US government in creating conditions for dialogue on this issue, as well as the facilitation provided by the State of Qatar,” she added.
Rusesabagina, who is a dual Rwandan and Belgian citizen and resident of the United States, will be released on Saturday along with 19 other people that had been convicted alongside him, Makolo told CNN.
Rusesabagina was arrested by Rwandan authorities while he was traveling internationally in 2020 in what his family has claimed was a kidnapping.
“We are pleased to hear the news about Paul’s release. The family is hopeful to reunite with him soon,” a spokesperson for Rusesabagina’s family told CNN.
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