Chinese mine manager in Rwanda sentenced to 20 years in prison for whipping local workers

A Chinese businessman was charged with torture and sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Rwanda after he was filmed beating a local worker who was tied to a pole last year.

Sun Shujun, 43, is seen in a video yelling at the Rwandan man hunkered on the ground and whipping him with a rope while other men in orange jackets watched.

Sun was arrested after the video circulated online in August 2021. He was later released on bail.

Renzaho Alexis, a Rwandan man who is considered by the court to be an accomplice in the beating, was also sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Judge Jacques Kanyarukiga said that Sun had “tortured the victims and issued corporal punishment with malicious intent, and this is a grave crime.”

While prosecutors accused Sun of assaulting four people, he only admitted to assaulting two workers. He said he beat them because he was “frustrated and fed up of them constantly stealing minerals.”

Witnesses told the court that workers suspected of stealing from Sun were tied and whipped.

Sun, a manager of a mine that produces cassiterite in the Rutsiro district, said that his two victims received compensation of more than 1 million Rwandan francs (approximately $1,000) and a reconciliation letter.

Prosecutors, however, argued that the victims only accepted his payments because “they were traumatized and afraid of him.”

In a statement, the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda wrote, “The Chinese Embassy in Rwanda has taken note of the recent ruling of 20 years’ imprisonment by a Rwandan court regarding a Chinese citizen. The Embassy always asks Chinese citizens in Rwanda to abide by local laws and regulations.”

“Meanwhile, the Embassy calls for the case to be handled appropriately in a rational, fair and just manner, and requests the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens to be properly protected,” the spokesperson added. “The Embassy will continue to follow the case. The Chinese Embassy remains committed to promoting relations between the two countries and friendship between our people.”

Sun can appeal to a higher court, according to Rwanda courts spokesman Harrison Mutabazi.


Featured Image via @ChinaAfrProject


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