July 15, 2013

N.H. woman gets 10 years for lying about role in Rwanda genocide

Her lawyers say they will appeal her conviction, a move that is expected to delay deportation proceedings.

By Lynne Tuohy / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Beatrice Munyenyezi

2012 Associated Press File Photo

Prosecutors maintained that she was a liar who "gamed" the immigration system to fraudulently obtain the "golden ticket" of citizenship. She swore on immigration and naturalization forms that she persecuted no one, had no affiliation with any political party and even cast herself as a victim of the genocide by saying family members "disappeared."

Munyenyezi fled to Nairobi, Kenya with her young daughter in July 1994, in the waning days of the genocide. Her twins were born there four months later. She entered the United States as a refugee and settled in Manchester with the aid of refugee relief agencies.

Before long, she had a $13-an-hour job working for the city's housing authority. Her children were enrolled in Catholic school and she attended college and earned an associate's degree. She financed a comfortable lifestyle through mortgages, loans and credit cards — only to file for bankruptcy in 2008 and have about $400,000 in debt discharged.

Munyenyezi's husband, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali and his mother were convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes of violence and are serving life sentences. Both were deemed to be high-ranking members of the Hutu militia party that orchestrated the savage attacks on Tutsis.

Munyenyezi's sister was convicted last summer in Boston on charges of fraudulently obtaining a visa to enter the United States by lying about her own Hutu political party affiliations. Prudence Kantengwa also was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice related to her immigration court testimony. She was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.

It is not clear where Munyenyezi will serve her sentence, but it will likely be outside New England. The federal prison for women in Connecticut is transferring its inmates elsewhere in advance of converting to a men's prison.

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