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WomanDenied Appeal In Rwanda Genocide Conviction


Accessory to genocideA federal judge has denied an appeal bid from a woman sentenced to 10 years in prison for lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Beatrice Munyenyezi was convicted and sentenced in 2013 in the same federal courthouse in New Hampshire where she was granted citizenship years earlier. She's serving sentence in a federal prison in Alabama and faces deportation afterward.
Beatrice Munyenyezi was a woman involved in the Rwanda Genocide. She fled to the United States where she successfully applied for political asylum citing persecution in her home country. In 2013, a US court found that she had lied about her involvement. She was stripped of her American citizenship and was given a ten-year sentence.
Munyenyezi had lied as a defence witness for her husband and mother who had been tried by an international tribunal for their part in the genocide in 2006. They had both been sentenced to life imprisonment despite Munyenyezi's evidence that they were not involved in the genocide. She said that she had not seen any killings at the infamous roadblock near their house. Other witnesses gave contradictory evidence and these were supported by satellite images. The US court decided that Munyenyezi was involved at the roadblock. She had inspected identity cards to decide people's racial background. When she said that someone was Tutsi then she had in effect condemned them to death. People were murdered and raped at that roadblock.



Munyenyezi was convicted of lying about her role as a commander of one of the notorious roadblocks where Tutsis were singled out for slaughter. She also denied affiliation with any political party, despite her husband's leadership role in the extremist Hutu militia party.
In 2013 she lost her US citizenship based on her early perjury at her hearing for her political asylum a decade before. Her defence attorney argued that she had not committed a crime in America and she had been pregnant and uninvolved. He argued that the court case was costing millions of dollars. She was given a ten-year sentence. She and her attorney appealed against the sentence but the judges said that the evidence did not come "within a country mile " of arguing for a mistrial.

Judge Steven McAuliffe on Thursday found no merit in her arguments that her lawyers were ineffective and her case was hurt by pretrial publicity.

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