Sunday, October 22, 2006

Final chapter for Kelbessa Negewo

Kelbessa Negewo, when he was a midlevel administrator during Ethiopia's Red Terror.

A key player in Derg's Red Terror campaign who later fell victim to torture himself and fled to the U.S. two decades ago, the life of 56-year-old Kelbessa Negewo has come full circle. His life began to unravel while employed as a hotel bellhop and fate placed him in the same service elevator with a surviving victim. Detained for almost two years by the Federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for violating international human rights laws, and four months after being profiled in a New York Times article, "The Long Interrogation," Kelbessa Negewo stepped off a plane last Friday at Bole airport and into the custody of Ethiopian authorities. Tried and convicted in absentia on several counts of genocide, he will serve a life sentence. Given the current state of affairs, history is sadly repeating itself and years from now a similar story may well emerge.

Ethiopian extradited from US begins life term (Independent Online) October 21, 2006
Ethiopian begins life sentence for genocide after US deportation (International Herald Tribune) October 23, 2006