Rwandan man in US charged with lying about his role during the 1994 genocide

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Federal authorities have charged a Rwandan man who they accused of repeatedly lying about his involvement in murders and rapes during the country’s 1994 genocide to win asylum and citizenship in the United States.

Eric Nshimiye, of Ohio, was arrested Thursday on charges that include falsifying information, obstruction of justice and perjury, authorities said.

The obstruction and perjury charges stem from his testimony in the 2019 trial of his one-time medical school classmate, who was convicted of hiding his involvement in at least seven murders and five rapes during the genocide. An estimated 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were then killed by Hutu extremists.

“For nearly 30 years, Mr. Nshimiye allegedly hid the truth about crimes he committed during the Rwandan genocide in order to seek refuge in the United States, and reap the benefits of U.S. citizenship,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy of Massachusetts said in a statement.

In addition to lying about his involvement in murders and rapes, Nshimiye also lied about his former classmate’s involvement in the genocide, authorities said.

Nshimiye was being held Thursday following an initial appearance in federal court in Ohio and authorities said he will appear at a later date in federal court in Boston, where the charges were filed.

Court records didn’t show a lawyer for Nshimiye and a phone number for him or his family was not immediately available Thursday.

Nshimiye was a medical student at the University of Rwanda campus in Butare in the early 1990s. Authorities accuse him of killing Tutsi men, women and children using a nail-studded club and machete.

His victims included a 14-year-old boy and a man who sewed doctor’s coats at the university hospital, authorities said.

Witnesses in Rwanda have identified the locations of the killings and drawn pictures of Nshimiye’s weapons, authorities said. Nshimiye also participated in the rapes of numerous Tutsi women during the genocide, authorities said.

Nshimiye fled Tutsi rebels and made his way to Kenya where, in 1995, he lied to U.S. immigration officials to gain refugee status in the United States, authorities said.

Nshimiye has lived and worked in Ohio since 1995, and ultimately gained U.S. citizenship, authorities said.

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