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Press Release

Rwandan Man Indicted on Immigration Fraud and Perjury Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant fled Canada to the U.S. on foot to avoid deportation

BOSTON – A Rwandan man who fled Rwanda near the end of the 1994 genocide was indicted in federal court in Boston with immigration fraud and perjury in connection with his application for asylum.


Jean Leonard Teganya, 46, was indicted on two counts of immigration fraud and three counts of perjury.  In August 2017, Teganya was charged and arrested on a criminal complaint.


As alleged in court documents, Teganya lied about his activities and political affiliation during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, during which approximately 800,000 people were murdered. Prior to and during the genocide, Teganya was a medical student and trainee at the Butare Hospital in Butare, Rwanda. It is alleged that several witnesses present in Butare during the genocide described Teganya as active in the political party of the genocidal regime, the MRND, and its militia, and stated that he actively participated in the persecution of Tutsis, the group that was largely targeted during the genocide.  


According to court documents, Teganya left Rwanda in mid-July 1994 and traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, and then Canada. In 1999, Teganya applied for refugee status and later asylum in Canada. Canadian authorities twice determined that Teganya was not entitled to asylum because he had been complicit in atrocities committed at the Butare Hospital during the genocide. After 15 years of litigation, Teganya evaded the order of deportation and fled across the border into the United States. On Aug. 3, 2014, Teganya was encountered walking on foot after he had crossed from Canada into Houlton, Maine. Teganya was taken into custody and he formally applied for asylum. On the application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, Teganya made false statements by failing to disclose the extent of his affiliations and activities with the MRND and Hutu extremists. 


The charge of immigration fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of perjury provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.


Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. State Department and the Revere Police Department provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John A. Capin and Aloke S. Chakravarty of Weinreb’s National Security Unit are prosecuting the case.


The details contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated September 27, 2017