Monday, January 09, 2006

Rwandan guilty of gorilla tourists' death

A court in Uganda has found a former Rwandan soldier guilty in the 1999 murders of eight "gorilla tourists" and their Ugandan guide in a national park.

The court in Kampala found that Jean Paul Bizimana, 31, was among the Rwandan rebels who abducted 14 tourists and their guide in a mountain gorilla sanctuary near Uganda's borders with Rwanda and Congo, the BBC reported Monday. Nine of the abductees were found clubbed and hacked to death.

The dead tourists were from the United States, Great Britain and New Zealand. The Rwandans allegedly marked the English-speakers for death because of U.S. and British support for the Rwandan government.

Bizimana is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday and could receive the death penalty.

Judge John Bosco Katutsi said in his ruling that the gang that carried out the attack shared a common purpose and therefore each individual member of the gang was guilty of murder.

Bizimana's lawyer said he would appeal, saying that being part of the gang did not mean his client carried out the killings.

Three other Rwandans have been sent to the United States to stand trial for the deaths of the two U.S. citizens.

Story here.

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