Africa

Rwanda jails man who preached genocide of Tutsi 'cockroaches'

Leon Mugesera (C) is escorted handcuffed by policemen to a police vehicle on the tarmac as he arrives at Kigali International Airport late on January 24, 2012 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mugesera fought his extradition from Canada

A former politician who described Tutsis as "cockroaches" and called for their extermination has been jailed for life in Rwanda over the 1994 genocide.

Leon Mugesera, an academic, was extradited back to his home country from Canada four years ago.

He made his incendiary speech against the Tutsi minority in 1992. Some 800,000 people died in the genocide.

Mugesera later worked as a lecturer in Quebec province and lost a 12-year legal battle to avoid extradition.

In 1992, then an official in Rwanda's ruling Hutu party, Mugesera told more than 1,000 party members that they should kill Tutsis and dump their bodies in the river.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Foreign governments were accused of not doing enough to stop the slaughter by Hutu militiamen

Mugesera later maintained his innocence, saying the speech had been taken out of context.

The genocide ended when rebels, led by current Tutsi President Paul Kagame, seized power in July 1994.

Militias from the majority Hutu ethnic group were blamed for the mass slaughter.

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