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Rwandan Singer Given 15 Years for Inciting Killings


A Rwandan singer and songwriter has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for inciting the killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Simon Bikindi was convicted Monday of "direct and public incitement to commit genocide" but acquitted on five related charges.

The conviction stems from a June 1994 speech in Gisenyi prefecture, in which Bikindi called on Hutus to rise up and exterminate Tutsis.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda rejected charges that Bikindi directly took part in killings or attacks on Tutsis.

Prosecutors had sought life in prison for Bikindi, a well-known musician who wrote several songs blaming the Tutsis for Rwanda's problems and characterizing them as the enemy.

The Tanzania-based court said the songs were broadcast to fan the flames of ethnic hatred but that Bikindi had no role in those broadcasts.

The Tanzania-based court said Bikindi's prison term includes time spent in detention since his arrest in June 2001.

An estimated 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis or moderate Hutus, were killed during the 1994 genocide.

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