Rwandan Immigrant on Trial for Immigration Fraud and Perjury

The Boston courthouse where a one-time Rwandan medical student is on trial for immigration fraud and for perjury

Jurors have waded into the story of, Jean Leonard Teganya, a one-time Rwandan medical student, prosecutors say tried to seek asylum in the US some 20 years after he fled his secret past as a confederate of the Rwandan civil war.

The feds charged Teganya with immigration fraud and perjury.

 His story is an example that shows the reach of USCIS background checks and also shows that sometimes the punishment for lying is worse than just an application denial.

The prosecutor explained to jurors, on Monday, during opening statements in Teganya’s trial, “[h]e claimed asylum … . Persecutors cannot claim asylum.”

According to prosecutors, Teganya had an allegiance to extremist Hutu soldiers who slaughtered as many as 800,000 Tutsi in 100 days of genocide in 1994.

 In the university hospital where Teganya was sent to observe doctors as part of his studies, the US prosecutor alleged, “[Teganya] pointed Tutsi out to the soldiers so they could be taken away. He led soldiers to women and girls so those women and girls could be raped.”

The prosecutor told jurors they will hear from a woman who was one of four Tutsi students herded to a body pit outside the hospital to be killed.

The prosecutor alleged that Teganya affirmatively denied to immigration officials ever seeing any atrocities take place at the hospital. “He did that even though some of the atrocities that occurred at the hospital were at his own hands,” the prosecutor said.

Teganya’s attorney, however, disputes many of the aforementioned allegations. His attorney claims that while Teganya stayed at the hospital even after the killings started there, “[h]e remained there treating people, helping people.”

It is important to keep in mind that Teganya has not been convicted at this point. And it’s important to keep in mind that neither prosecutors nor immigration officials are infallible. Innocent people get convicted of crimes every day.