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Woman lied about role in Rwanda genocide, U.S. jury says

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
updated 8:48 PM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
Courtroom sketch of Beatrice Munyenyezi.
Courtroom sketch of Beatrice Munyenyezi.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Beatrice Munyenyezi, 43, was convicted of lying on her naturalization documents
  • Her U.S. citizenship is revoked and she will face sentencing in June
  • She was not on trial for war crimes in the Rwandan genocide of 1994

(CNN) -- A New Hampshire jury on Thursday convicted a Rwandan woman of lying about her role in a 1994 genocide in her home country to acquire U.S. citizenship.

Beatrice Munyenyezi, 43, had her citizenship revoked and will face sentencing in June for two counts of lying on U.S. government applications, authorities said.

She faces up to 10 years behind bars, a $250,000 fine on each count and possible deportation, according to the Justice Department.

Munyenyezi, who was not on trial for war crimes, was found guilty of intentionally lying on a refugee questionnaire and naturalization documents about her role in the infamous slaughter in which ethnic Hutu militants butchered their Tutsi counterparts over a three-month period.

Read more: Rwanda closes tribunals overseeing genocide prosecutions

Prosecutors argued that Munyenyezi, a Hutu, was a member of an extremist group associated with a paramilitary organization that set up roadblocks and targeted fleeing Tutsis and their sympathizers.

"Testimony during the 12-day trial revealed that Munyenyezi concealed her involvement in the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development, the political party in power before and during the Rwandan genocide," according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement press release provided by Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the agency. "Munyenyezi misrepresented this fact in order to obtain immigration and naturalization benefits."

Read more: Former Rwandan minister sentenced

One of the roadblocks was set up outside the Ihuriro Hotel, an establishment owned by her husband's family, according to the indictment.

The mother of three is thought to be married to former militia leader Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, who was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life in prison last year. She is thought to have lived in the hotel and helped pick out those who arrived at a nearby checkpoint to be executed or raped.

Her attorney, David Ruoff, said they would appeal the decision.

Read more: Film pioneer helps Rwanda build new identity

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