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NEW YORK (July 27, 2022) — Today, Oslo Freedom Forum community members Carine Kanimba, daughter of jailed Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina, and John Scott-Railton, a renowned cybersecurity expert and Senior Researcher at The Citizen Lab, will be testifying in an public hearing before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. The hearing will address the use of commercial cyber surveillance software to surveil U.S. officials, journalists, and activists.

The U.S. formally designated Rwanda as “a hostage-taking state” and Rusesabagina a “wrongfully detainee”

Kanimba is a US-Belgian dual citizen whose Belgian phone was infected with the military-grade spyware Pegasus as she campaigned for the release of her father, Paul Rusesabagina. Rusesabagina suffered years of harassment, smear campaigns, and attempts on his life for speaking out against Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame. In May 2022, the U.S. formally designated Rwanda as “a hostage-taking state” and Rusesabagina a “wrongfully detainee” due to his extrajudicial rendition to Rwanda from his home in San Antonio, Texas in August 2020.

Kanimba was a speaker at the 2022 Oslo Freedom Forum, where she shared the stage with journalist and author Michela Wrong for a conversation on “The Long Tentacles of Rwanda’s Dictatorship.” Scott-Railton led a Citizen Lab team at the Forum, which discovered a second Pegasus spyware infection on Kanimba’s U.S. phone on May 25, 2022. The next day, Human Rights Foundation CEO Thor Halvorssen joined Kanimba on the Oslo Freedom Forum stage to break the news to the world. 

The hearing will begin at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can follow a livestream of the hearing here

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. For interview requests or media inquiries, please email [email protected].