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Human Rights Violators
04/23/2009

Kansas man charged with immigration crimes in connection with 1994 genocide in Rwanda

WASHINGTON - Lazare Kabaya Kobagaya, 82, of Topeka, Kan., was arrested today on charges of naturalization fraud and misuse of an alien registration card, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Assistant Secretary John P. Torres and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division announced.

According to the indictment, Kobagaya allegedly participated in genocidal activities during the 1994 Rwandan conflict including mobilizing attackers to commit arson and murder.  Kobagaya is alleged to have failed to disclose his alleged participation in these activities during his immigration and naturalization processes.

A grand jury in Wichita, Kan., returned a sealed indictment against Kobagaya on Jan. 13, 2009, charging him with one count of unlawful procurement of naturalization and one count of misuse of an alien registration card.  The indictment also notifies Kobagaya that he is subject to automatic revocation of his citizenship if convicted for unlawful procurement of naturalization. The indictment was unsealed today after his initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge.

If convicted of unlawful procurement of citizenship, Kobagaya faces a maximum of 10 years in prison as well as automatic revocation of his U.S. citizenship and a fine of up to $250,000.  If convicted of fraud and misuse of an alien registration card, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Kobagaya is next scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate judge of the U.S. Court for the District of Kansas on April 24, 2009, at 10 a.m. (CDT) for his initial appearance.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorneys Michael E. Barr, Christina P. Giffin and Steven C. Parker from the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger for the District of Kansas. The investigation is being handled jointly by OSI and ICE.

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.