A Rwandan man has been sentenced to eight years in prison in the US for immigration fraud and perjury after hiding the fact that he was involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Jean Leonard Teganya, 47, “was convicted and sentenced for the most serious form of immigration fraud: lying about his status as a war criminal to win asylum in the United States,” said US Attorney Andrew E Lelling, in a statement issued by the department of justice.
In just 100 days in 1994, about 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. They were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community, as well as their political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin.
Teganya was a medical student in Rwanda at the time of the genocide and was accused of leading teams of soldiers around a hospital and identifying Tutsi patients, the US statement says.
“Once discovered, the Tutsis were taken and killed behind the maternity ward,” it adds.
Teganya fled Rwanda in 1994 and ended up in Canada where he applied for asylum. But the authorities turned down his claim because of his alleged involvement in the genocide.
He then avoided deportation and went to the US where he was detained. In his application for asylum in the US he did not disclose his activities during the genocide, the US government says.
Teganya is expected to appeal against the judgement, Reuters news agency reports. His lawyer argued that as a Hutu, he feared being accused of involvement in the genocide and therefore fled.
Once his sentence is complete, Teganya is likely to be deported from the US.