A Chinese businessman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for torturing local mineworkers in Rwanda.
Sun Shujun, 43, was arrested after the 45-second video that showed him whipping a man huddled on the ground and tied to a pole was widely shared in August. He was later released on bail.
Shujun’s victims are reported to have been former workers at a cassiterite mine he managed in the rural district of Rutsiro. Shujun admitted to assaulting at least two workers, saying he beat them because he was “frustrated and fed up of them constantly stealing minerals”.
“It is clear that (Sun) tortured the victims and issued corporal punishment with malicious intent, and this is a grave crime,” judge Jacques Kanyarukiga ruled, ordering him to serve a 20-year term in prison.
Shujun argued for his release, saying he compensated the two victims by paying them a total of more than one million Rwandan francs ($1,000) and signing a “reconciliation letter”.
However, the prosecution argued that the victims had accepted the payments “because they were traumatized and afraid of him”.
Along with Shunjun, Renzho Alexis was also sentenced to 12 years for his alleged role as an accomplice in the beatings. A third defendant was found not guilty.
The Chinese embassy in Rwanda said in a statement that it had “taken note” of the ruling.
“The embassy always asks Chinese citizens in Rwanda to abide by local laws and regulations,” it said.
“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.”
Rwanda courts spokesman Harrison Mutabazi said Shujun has a right to appeal to a higher court within 30 days.
A Rwandan court sentenced the Chinese man seen in this video, Sun Shujun, to 20 years in prison for brutally beating one of his employees last year. Sun said he was "frustrated and fed up of them constantly stealing minerals.” He has 30 days to appeal: https://t.co/QBWEjHBRbv pic.twitter.com/Es9Yf22U8T— The China Africa Project (@ChinaAfrProject) April 21, 2022