CONCORD, N.H. – A woman who served a 10-year sentence in U.S. prison for lying about her role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide to obtain American citizenship, and then lost her bid for a new trial, has been deported to the East African nation and is likely to face prosecution there.
Beatrice Munyenyezi, who a U.S. judge said “was actively involved” in the killing of Tutsis in Rwanda, was convicted and sentenced in 2013 in New Hampshire. It was her second trial; the first jury could not reach a verdict. Munyenyezi served a 10-year sentence in Alabama and had faced deportation.
She lost her latest court battle in March, when the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district judge's rejection of her petition challenging how the jury was instructed during her trial in federal court in New Hampshire.
Her lawyer, Richard Guerriero, confirmed in an email Saturday that Munyenyezi had been deported to Rwanda. She arrived Friday and was handed over to Rwandan authorities, according to state-run media there.
“Her deportation means a lot in terms of justice delivery to genocide victims,” said Thierry Murangira, spokesperson for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, according to The New Times.
Munyenyezi is accused of seven crimes connected to the genocide, including murder and complicity in rape, according to Rwandan investigators. She will be detained as investigations continue and her case sent to prosecutors, the newspaper reported.
In the United States, 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 denied affiliation with any political party, despite the leadership role of her husband, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, in the extremist Hutu militia party.
She requested a new trial based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that came in 2017, well after her sentencing, and limited the government’s ability to strip citizenship from immigrants who lied during the naturalization process.