Ethiopian prosecutor seeks asylum in US

September 6th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

An Ethiopian prosecutor who said the government forced him to pursue opposition leaders has requested asylum in the United States, he said Tuesday.

“I have been ordered by the government to institute charges on CUDP leaders,” said Alemayehu Zemedkun, referring to Ethiopia’s opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party.

“I have tried to show them the legal impediments. There is not enough evidence … But they insisted,” he said by telephone from Washington, where he has sought refuge.

Zemedekun, 41, whose wife and two children remain in Addis Ababa, arrived in the United States on August 2 after the government realised he was not going to launch a judicial attack on the opposition, and considered him sympathetic to them.

He was a deputy general prosecutor when the government urged him to set charges against opposition leaders it alleged had plotted to overthrow the government after the May 2005 elections.

Arguing that there was no evidence against the opposition leaders, Zemedekun said he had written a report to the government to convince them to abandon the effort, but that he failed. He subsequently offered his resignation but was refused.

A US State Department spokesman declined to confirm the case, noting they never comment on asylum requests.

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