A court in Rwanda has sentenced a Chinese mining engineer to 20 years in prison having been found guilty of tying his workers to a tree and whipping them.
Shjun Sun, 43, the manager of a mine in the west of the country, was convicted alongside an accomplice following his arrest in September last year.
“It is clear that Shjun 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.
Shjun, who was in court for the verdict, acknowledged assaulting two workers, saying he beat them because he was “frustrated and fed up of them constantly stealing minerals”.
In arguing for his release, Shjun said he had compensated the two by paying a total of more than one million Rwandan francs (S$1360) and signing a “reconciliation letter”.
However, the prosecution — which had accused him of assaulting four people — argued that the victims had accepted the payments “because they were traumatised and afraid of him”.
Another manager at the company, Ali Group Holding Ltd, was found guilty of helping Shjun and sentenced to 12 years in jail but another defendant was found not guilty. Shjun has 30 days to appeal the verdict.
The Chinese embassy in Rwanda said in a statement it had “taken note” of the ruling.