“Co-pilot hijacked plane to expose brutal rule in Ethiopia” – Cousin By Abraha Belai

February 19th, 2014 Print Print Email Email

SEATTLE – Amid a flurry of government propaganda to label the hijacker of an Ethiopian Airlines plane as mental patient, a family member of the co-pilot says her cousin was an activist who has been resentful of the stifling political repression in Ethiopia.

Speaking to the Ethiopian Satellite TV (ESAT) by phone on Wednesday, a female cousin of co-pilot Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn, who landed the passenger airliner in Geneva early on Monday and sought asylum there, said the measure was politically motivated, and not any other reason.

“He was living a comfortable life, and was a frequent traveler to the US and Europe. If he had the desire to live in the West, he had plenty of chances. But he was an activist who very much resented the gross human rights violations that the government is committing in the country,” she said.

The woman, who didn’t reveal her identity for fear of political retribution, said 31-year-old Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn and she would call each other frequently, and the co-pilot was very much opposed to the government because of lack of freedom, including harassing airlines employees to be members of the ruling party or lose their jobs.

“Many of his friends have been fired because they failed to toe the party lines,” she said, adding he was also resentful of the brutal measures the ruling party was taking against the Amhara in particular and the entire Ethiopian people in general.

Asked whether she is in contact with family members in Addis, she said the phone lines were blocked with all family members but one. “My uncle is virtually under house arrest as others are under surveillance. We have also learned that Airlines officials have come under fire, being threatened to reveal how come they kept dissidents in the business.”

Though in police custody in Geneva, the woman said several calls to her cousin were never answered.

“The government in Addis will definitely push the Swiss government to extradite my cousin. If they succeed, there is no doubt that they will cut him to pieces as he would expose their crimes if left free. All Ethiopians should rally to block any extradition attempts,” the woman said.

The pro-democracy Ethiopian Diaspora is considering to hire lawyers to defend the rights of the co-pilot, who is now hailed as a human rights champion among Ethiopian activists both at home and abroad.

  1. Faysal
    | #1

    “The woman, who didn’t reveal her identity” claims to be a cousin of the hijacker and tells Esat that he was a political activist who was frustrated by the government’s repression of Amhara in particular and the entire Ethiopian people in general.
    Tensae Abera, a sister, tells in a very touching statement that her brother was suffering from some kind of paranoid disorder. She seemed to be concerned merely about her brother’s wellbeing. I wish the young man and his family all the best.
    Let us wait and see what comes next.

  2. wedinakfa
    | #2

    Yes, the young pilot was not motivated to saving himself but he set out to save Ethiopia perhaps the Horn from the cluches of woyane. Had he been trying to save himself he simply would have absconded after landing the plane but the young man is not greedy to save only himself but millions, brother co-pilot, I salut you, I amire your courage as a simple man I am ready to join to advance the cause you set out to fullfill and this is freeing Ethiopians and getting rid of Woyane from the face of the Horn, hence woyane is a a brutal party morraly devoid party, amazing thing is the USA preachess democracy howver it is a right hand man of dictators and depotic leaders of Africa, Shame on Mr Obama, he talks rich delivers ZERO.

    Adn if Swiss decide to send this gut to the gallows the truth is out ther for all to see the west are not freinds of the poor but the killers and despotic leaders.

  3. Zerayakob Yared
    | #3

    ወዲ ሓትኖ:

    are you moved by shameless schadenfreude, or you are in the feel of solidarity?

    አይሮፕላንን አስመልክቶ, እኛ ለእንደዚህ ዓይነት ቂም በቀልተኛ ጠቢቄ ሳቅኩባቸው, ወይንም ደግሞ እስኪ አስመስዬ ልሳለቅባቸው አሽዋፊነት ስሜቶች አንበቃም:: ለምን ቢባል, ኤርትራ, አንድም በሽልማት ቢጤ ነገር ተሰጥታ የነበረችው ብቸኛዋ አይሮፕላኗ ወደ አውሮፓ አካባቢ ብቅ እንዳትል ከታገደች ሰንበት ብሏል, ሁለትም የፕረዝደንቷም ካመለጥች ቀናት አልፏል:: ይህ በእንደዚያ እንዳለ, ለማንኛውም የዜጎች ተሳፋሪዎችን ህይወት ነብስ ውጪ-ነብስ ግቢ የሚያሰኝ ሁናቴ ውስጥ የሚያስገባ ጀቡደኛ/ህመምተኛ ተግባራት ባይደገም ይበጃል ልንል እንወዳለን

    የአንተዎቹን የአራት ኪሎዎቹ ደቂ ሕትኖዎችህንና የኔውን ዘ-ናቅፋዊው in MASSAWA ወዲ ሓትኖን እንዴት አድርገን እንደምናለዝባቸው ወይንም ……. ህህ…!? ባይገርምህ ዘ-አራት ኪሎዎች ጭራሽ አሁንም ከዚህ ነብስ ውጪ-ነብስ ግቢ ሁናቴ ውስጥ ትርፍ ያስገቡበታል:: ከእንሹራንሱ ………..! እንደ the man in MASSAWA, በግብዝነት ብቻ አይጠግቡም:: ትርፍ ካመጣ, it is okay, በሚለው ዘመናዊው የግሎባላይዘሽን መልአከ-ሰይጣን ነዋ የሚያመልኩት …………!
    “he talks rich delivers ZERO” ላልከው ብቻ አንድ plus ነጥብ ልሰጥህ እወዳለሁኝ:: ምክኒያቱሳ ብትል, ይሄ አባባል በእኔም ዘንዳ እንደ የጥዋት-ማታ አቡነዘሰማያት ሆኗልና::

    ለደግነት ይቅርና ለክፋትም, ምስውነኻ ዝመስልዎ የለንሞ, ኣያ ሓወኒ ግዲ የብልካን ቀለብካ ቂም-በቐል ጥራሕ ኣይኹን..!

  4. Zerayakob Yared
    | #4

    ለደግነት ይቅርና ለክፋትም, ምስውነኻ ዝመስልዎ የለንሞ, ኣያ ሓወኒ ግዲ የብልካን ቀለብካ ቂም-በቐል ጥራሕ ኣይኹን..!
    ከሚለው ከላይ ያሰፈርኩት አረፍተ ነገር ስር “ለባለ አርቲኪሉም ጭምር” የሚለውን እስከነ ስር ሰረዝ ጭምር ላሰፍርበት አስቤ, ግን ስለረሳሁት, ይሄው በማስከተል ይስፈርልኝ………………………..!

  5. Faysal
    | #5

    Dear Wedinakfa,
    It is really precious to see an Eritrean shading crocodile tears to the plight of Ethiopians. You really made my day.

  6. Sam
    | #6

    The co-pilot cousin allegedly said “if he had the desire to live in the West, he had plenty of chances. But he was an activist who very much resented the gross human rights violations that the government is committing in the country.” Had the co-pilot “resented the gross human rights violations” he would have been among millions of Ethiopians. There is nothing new there. The cousin description of the co-pilot might apply to millions of other Ethiopians. Was he an “activist” as the cousin described of him being? That is very hard to accept. First, the EPDRF government might not allow an “activist” co-pilot to work under Ethiopian Airline. This is a government which spend a lot of time monitoring every breathing Ethiopian. You might think Ethiopian Airline employees might reasonably be the most watched. I have a hard time believing the EPDRF government allows even a single “activist” to exist in Ethiopian Airline. Does the co-pilot “resent” the government? Of course, he might. There is nothing new there. Millions of Ethiopians do. It is better to wait until we hear from his lawyers what really happened that drove him to take such a desperate move. If some people guess there might be “cadres” know-it-all culture which was growing in Ethiopian Airline which might compel him to risk it all, I would be among those “Some.”

  7. Lies and the Lying liars
    | #7

    Faysal,
    As they say, tell who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are. Because of the shocking crimes and looting the ruling party have committed on Ethiopia/ns, the ruling party and their supporters are the only ones that are suffering from paranoia and afraid of their own shadows. The ruling party is known for falsifying, planting evidence and even bombs — knowing the history of TPLF, there is no question that, TPLF will be forcing and pointing guns on the heads of the copilots family members to make up damaging statements about the copilot character, as you are doing on Abugida website.

  8. Gigi
    | #8

    Hope he gates a proper car from Geneva. The world knows Ethiopias situation anyways, we have been under TPLF for the last 20 years with
    out our say at all and our voices has been ignored while the ruling
    party does tell us not to even speak againest them for a long time.

    Changing who the president and prim minister does not mean changing
    the every thing about the country, they have too help the country to have
    a voice and freedom insted of doing this kind of things to go to
    out side of the country. We are not Genevians if you know what I mean….

    but what can some body do if this people are not listening? it is not their sholders who is taking the stick but ours, if you are not feeling the pain honey at least listen when some body talks.

    We trust Dear Genevians to help and shelter out brother in all his needs and security. And we hope all country’s in the world are helping
    people in their need when people are in need of their help and one day
    we will be able there for the world when in need and we are there in
    what ever we can even now in our exile and at home. Our people are very sweet and friendly people only love can get them in truble if any thing, we dont do the hating stuff we do the loving stuff honey, and its the love for our country and peaceful world that some body is taking a crime againest us and we have been dealing we it with a lot of patience and indurans for peace and peaceful reconsilietion of our country but they have taken us for some fools you know……

    Be safe brother. May god protect you and your family and country.

    Long live Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. My hat’s off to HAT
    | #9

    What this remarkable unselfish hero and patriotic copilot, Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn had done for his beloved country and fellow Ethiopians should be admired and supported by all Ethiopians and never be forgotten. The copilot, HAT could have put his head down, close his eyes, ears and totally ignored the suffering of Ethiopians at the hands of the ruling party, and collect his salary and chose to live with the same looters and killers like the so called Born-Again-Christian the TPLF puppet, the fake Prime Minister, HMD. But, it is obvious that the copilot was bothered by his conscience to ignore the unimaginable crimes of the ruling party on his motherland and fellow Ethiopians. The outstanding copilot in Ethiopian history, has stood and spoken in a loud voice in behalf of millions of Ethiopians that are living and working and being treated as second class citizen by the ruling party, as we speak. Let us hope that the Swiss govt give the copilot a chance to speak and listen carefully to what HAT’a protest is all about. Our elite Ethiopians, Ethiopian Organizations, Ethiopians Associations and the opposition parties must do everything in their power to support and stand on the side of HAT. His voice is our voice!!!!!

  10. Amare
    | #10

    We all may have personal political view or other personal desire, but that does not give us the right to kidnap and terrorize hundreds of innocent people by hijacking airplane.

  11. Tameru
    | #11

    Hijacking crime can not be overridden by personal desire political asylum seeking drama.

  12. STFUP
    | #12

    Amare and Tameru,
    Typical Woyanes, ALWAYS BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE. WHO GAVE TPLF TO HIJACK, TERRORIZE ETHIOPIANS AND LITERALLY ROB THE COUNTRY BLIND!?
    THE WELL TRAINED COPILOT (MOST PROBABLY A BETTER PILOT THAN MOST OF THE TPLF PILOTS) NEVER THREATENED THE PASSENGERS AND NOT A SINGLE PASSENGER HAVE GOTTEN HURT, PERIOD!

  13. Ye Gonder Jegna
    | #13

    INTOLERABE ACT OF TERRORISM
    What is the difference between middle Eastern terrorists groups or individual who hijack airplane for their political agenda, compare to this case ? There is no logical different, both have committed intolerable gross crime by kidnapping and endangering hundreds of innocent lives.

  14. Kato
    | #14

    TERROR THAT PERSON SAID: THOSE WHO COMPARE THIS PILOT WITH A TERRORIST DO NOT EITHER KNOW WHAT A TERRORIST IN ACTUALITY MEANS OR DUMB TO SAY THE LEAST. TRUTH BE TOLD WHATEVER PROMPTED THIS PILOT TO DO WHAT HE DID MIGHT NOT EVEN COME OUT BUT THERE IS ENOUGH REASON OUT THERE WHY THIS PILOT CHOSE TO DO WHAT HE DID. SO IS IT FAR FETCHED TO CALL THIS PILOT A HERO? NOT AT ALL. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF A WELL PAID PILOT (AT LEAST IN COMPARISON TO MANY IN ETHIOPIA) TO CHOOSE EXILE AS OPPOSED TO A RELATIVELY COMFORTABLE LIFE (EYES CLOSED AND EARS PLUGGED)? I BELIEVE HE IS A MAN OF INTEGRITY THAT CAN’T CLOSE HIS EYES AND PLUG HIS EARS AND REMAIN INDIFFERENT AS THE WORLD WATCHES WITH COMPLETE DISINTEREST AS THE PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA ARE BEING BRUTALIZED AND TERRORIZED.
    GOD BLESS THE CO PILOT

  15. STFUP
    | #15

    Ye Gonder jegna,
    What a nerve! How laughable and shameful! If you are from Gonder, the Catholic Pope must be a Muslim man! Ethiopians are well aware that TPLF disguise as Amharas, Oromos, Muslims and Christians to divide Ethiopians, to justify and continue their criminal activities.
    Almost three decades ago, TPLF lied and manipulated Ethiopians to join them to get rid off Mengestu and form Democracy. But once they get to Addis, the millions of non-TPLF Ethiopians that fought to get rid off Mengestu, were left behind and thrown as used napkin in Addis. In the last 23 years, Ethiopians have witnessed more than enough that members of TPLF are indeed a calculated racist mafia gangsters that came to divide, loot and sell the country’s land by every means, including murder. Countless number of Ethiopians continue to be locked up, tortured and killed as we speak…

  16. wedinakfa
    | #16

    @Faysal
    Typical tigray boy I know you have an infiriority complex, so you think every one is like you!! As a matter of fact because of woyanes’ infiriority they have shamelessley tried to creat fire between the two people on the proces the loosers are the poor tigryans and the likes of you despite being aflicted with infiriority complex they have robbed your immature brain to come out with such a garbbage, keep a copy of my comment Tigrayas will fare worest, time will tell and I will still feel for those people and even for you because your ignorance has [revented you from acceptiong other peoples comment,

  17. Hagos
  18. Addisu
    | #18

    @STFUP,

    It does not matter from which angle you trying to defend it and legitimize it, fact is Hostage taking by hijacking airplane is in generally speaking an immoral act and reprehensible, since by it nature hijacking airplane compromises the safety and well being if hundreds of innocent passengers in that flight.

  19. Washington DC
    | #19

    The best defence for the co-pilot to avoid prison term is to declare “insanity”.

    Oh My GOD! What a bad way to start for this uninformed poor young Asylum seeker ? I have a feeling the court may find him liable for the hijacking crime, and may convict him to serve some time in prison in order to discourage others from behaving in such manner.
    The other problem with this case is that the entire airline industry safety may become compromised if the court does not discourage such act by doing some thing.

  20. hlmani
    | #20

    The words of the co-pilot can not be altered or forged. He said it, and he did it. We, Ethiopians support this courageous fighter with he did it. He denounced the brutal regime that oppressed and suppressed millions of Ethiopians for the last 22 years, and decisively stood for the rights of the millions-oppressed, and showed the fascistic nature of the regime to the global communities by commanding skillfully and landing the plane safely and precisely with all 222 passengers in it. They all were in good hands.

    We will continue standing with this hero of ours and make a difference for all those who have been ruled under the brutal regime of Hiwahat.

  21. gejji
    | #21

    It wasn’t about showing of the skill and the knowledge he possessed from years of learning and practicing; rather, it was about exposing the brutal and fascist act and behaviour of the regime that literally had been holding hostages for the last twenty-two years.

    This son of the motherland whom we are proud of his commanding skills and courage to go beyond the call of duty and stood firm for his and other fellow Ethiopians rights by protesting and exposing the nature of the fascist regime.

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