Political News

Rwandan academic gets life in jail for 1994 genocide

Posted July 15

— A prominent Rwandan academic has been sentenced to life in jail after being convicted of genocide, officials said Saturday.

Leopold Munyakazi was convicted Friday by a court in the south of the East African country, Rwandan Prosecutor General John Bosco Mutangana said.

Munyakazi will be held under solitary confinement according to the verdict in the district of Muhanga, said Emmanuel Itamwa, a spokesman for the court.

Munyakazi was accused of playing a key role in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. He denied the charges.

Munyakazi fled Rwanda in 2004 and sought refuge in the U.S., where he taught French at Goucher College in Baltimore until he was suspended in 2008 following his indictment by the Rwandan government.

The Rwandan government issued arrest warrants against Munyakazi in 2006 and 2008 and asked the U.S. to extradite him. He was deported to Rwanda last year.

Munyakazi, an ethnic Hutu who was a college professor at the time of the genocide, had opposed his transfer to Rwanda, arguing that he faced torture and would not get a fair trial since the country now has a Tutsi-led government.

He maintained his innocence but lost court appeals to avoid extradition to Rwanda.

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