A Rwandan national who came to the United States in 2004 was sentenced in federal court in Boston Thursday to serve nearly two years in prison for lying to US authorities about her ties to the 1994 genocide in her home country.
Prudence Kantengwa, who is in her late 40s, received a 21-month sentence Thursday, court records show. She was convicted in May on charges including perjury and obstruction of justice.
Her federal public defenders could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Prosecutors wrote in a July court filing that Kantengwa lied during US immigration proceedings to conceal her connections to the genocide, in which militias from the majority Hutu tribe slaughtered minority Tutsis and others. An estimated 800,000 people were killed.
A lawyer for Kantengwa, Charles P. McGinty, wrote in a June court filing after his client’s conviction that prosecutors did not prove at trial that she knowingly misled the US government during the proceedings.
Kantengwa was not charged with participating directly in the genocide. Prosecutors said she made the false statements during visa and asylum applications.
She at one point failed to disclose her prior affiliation with a political party that played a prominent role in the killings, authorities said. She also lied about atrocities that were committed at a notorious roadblock in the city of Butare, among other falsehoods, according to authorities.
“Her family’s role in committing those atrocities is something that the defendant tried to shield, both to protect them ... as well as to shut down any risk to her own asylum proceedings” that were pending, prosecutors wrote.
Kantengwa’s sister, Beatrice Munyenyezi, is facing related charges in federal court in New Hampshire.
Prosecutors allege that she was involved in killings at the Butare roadblock and later lied about her culpability when applying to enter the United States.
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