US deports woman who lied about role in Rwandan genocide
CONCORD, NH (AP) - A woman who served a 10-year sentence in a US prison for lying about her role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide in order to obtain American citizenship and her offer for one had lost new trial, was deported to Rwanda, her lawyer said Saturday.
Beatrice Munyenyezi was convicted and convicted in the US state of New Hampshire in 2013. She was serving a 10-year prison sentence in Alabama and was deported.
She lost her last legal battle in March when the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a federal district judge's denial of her petition on how the jury was instructed during their trial in New Hampshire federal court.
"Yes, it did," wrote her lawyer Richard Guerriero in an email on Saturday when asked if Munyenyezi had been deported to Rwanda. He said he believed she arrived in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, on Friday.
Munyenyezi was convicted of lying about her role in commanding one of the infamous roadblocks at which Tutsis were selected for slaughter. She denied belonging to any political party, despite her husband's leadership role in the extremist Hutu militia party.
She moved a new trial based on a 2017 US Supreme Court ruling restricting the government's ability to revoke citizenship from immigrants who lied during the naturalization process.
Munyenyezi alleged the jury received imprecise instructions on their criminal liability. A judge declined her request, saying that the mistake was undoubtedly harmless, even if the instruction fell short.
As part of their appeal, Munyenyezi's trial attorneys, who are now New Hampshire Supreme Court judges, said in court documents that they would have presented Munyenyezi's case differently if the U.S. Supreme Court's decision during their trial had been law.
They added that if the jury had instructed based on the court decision, they believe "the verdict may have been different".
At the time, she was portrayed by her lawyers as the victim of lies by Rwandan witnesses who had never involved her in nearly two decades of investigations and trials, even when testifying against her husband and mother in the International Criminal Court in Rwanda.
The US prosecutor said Munyenyezi was not eligible for a new trial and could have made a similar legal argument at this point as it had come about in other cases. But her defense attorneys said they were unaware that other lawyers had raised the issue.
In the 2017 US Supreme Court case, a Serb who immigrated to the US from Bosnia lied about her husband's fear of persecution, her husband's service in the Bosnian army, and his role in the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslim civilians .
She asked to instruct the jury that her citizenship could be revoked if the government could prove that her lies had influenced the decision to grant her citizenship. A court refused, but the Supreme Court overturned the decision.
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