Trial of ex-NSU professor in Ethiopia at critical juncture

February 19th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

By MATTHEW BOWERS, The Virginian-Pilot | February 17, 2007

Monday looms as a judgment day for Yacob Hailemariam. The lawyer and former Norfolk State University professor has been imprisoned for more than a year in his home country, Ethiopia, after winning a parliament seat as a reformer


.

Judges are scheduled to rule on the prosecution’s part of a trial on charges of treason and genocide against Hailemariam and more than 70 others, said Charles Schaefer, a country specialist for Amnesty International. The human rights organization objects to the Ethiopian government’s actions, has declared Hailemariam and others “prisoners of conscience,” and tracks the case through American diplomats there.

If the judges decide the case hasn’t been convincing, “possibly all the prisoners will be released,” Schaefer said this week. “That would be the best scenario.”

But if they decide that the case is strong enough, they will set dates for the defense’s rebuttal.

Hailemariam’s daughter, Seyenie Yacob, is traveling from Virginia Beach to Ethiopia for Monday’s proceeding. His wife of 30 years, Tegist, will remain here in her Virginia Beach home. She said she worries about his fate, but “I’m not negative.”

She has relied on Web sites, phone calls and e-mails to family and friends in Ethiopia for news about her husband since his arrest in October 2005. She visited him in September, for about 30 minutes. But it was enough, she said.

“We said all we wanted to say,” she said. “They are busy, too. You don’t want to keep them long.”

When her husband, who is 62, heard Ethiopia announce its first relatively free elections in May 2005, he wanted to be a part of the change.

He retired early from NSU after teaching business law there for almost 20 years, and moved back to the eastern Africa country to campaign for increased democracy. The ruling party imposed restrictions that Hailemariam and others opposed, protests took place and the arrests followed.

Tegist Hailemariam stayed behind because the children were here; a son still attends college.

This week she, like others following the case, spotted a letter online from Yacob Hailemariam addressed to the judges and fellow Ethiopians.

In it, he reiterated his contention that the charges were politically motivated, and that he and others planned to offer no defense to limit the government’s chances to “mislead” Ethiopians “about the truth.”

“If standing for justice, peace and democracy is considered a crime,” he wrote, “we are prepared to accept the court’s verdict whether it is imprisonment or death penalty.”

Maria Lugo, an administrator at NSU, has befriended the family and started a Web site, www.freeyacob.com. She said she can’t imagine what Tegist Hailemariam is going through.

Yacob Hailemariam once led a United Nations tribunal on war crimes in Rwanda. “He always wants to sit at a table and discuss,” his wife said. “He doesn’t like violence.”

She excused herself from an interview – she had to return to her job as a medical laboratory analyst. Life had to go on, even if her thoughts were 7,200 miles away.

  1. bizuayehu dibu
    | #1

    I strongly support the release of Dr. Yakob H/Hailemariam and all prisoners of conscience.

  2. | #2

    HAPPY 32 year’s ANNVERSERY TO ALL TPLF MEMBER’S AND SUPPORTER.and AWET NEHAFASH. W4LIFE.

  3. Mimi
    | #3

    It is nice to see that the international media is paying more attention for the crisis that has been going on in Ethiopia. That is very important step in the peaceful struggle for unity peace and democracy in Ethiopia. I am sure some of the weyannes are coming to their mind and think that their way doesn’t last longer. Of course there are the dames one who has no compression at all, but they are not that much important.

  4. | #4

    HI MIMI.. I KNOW WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR U AND U HAVE HARD TIME SLEEP’N LATELY AND FOR KNOW U CAN GO BACK TO SLEEP MIMISHO. EVERY THING IS GONE’T BE ALL RIGHT. and THE GOOD NEWS IS U LEADER’S THEY W’LL BE FREE BY TOMOROW.CUZ WOYANY DON’T NEED THIS PPL. THEY ARE ALL READY CLOSE TO DEATH AND THAT MEANS IS GONE’T COST US SOME MONY AND TIME LIKE FENERAL ARENGEMENT U KNOW ONES U PPL START CRAY’N U DON’T STOP.any way i ain’t got nothing but love for thos old ppl so good luke .W4LIFE.

  5. | #5

    what must be told to all those countries behind the dictators regimes in Ethiopia and elsewhere countries, to think more to the value of human life and stop subsidizing them.

  6. | #6

    Mamo,simply you are heartless coward who grow up in the jungle enjoying the pain of the others just try it again to feel humanly,may be it’s mistaken to advice someone strongly controlled by the evil sprit of TPLF,the people’s wish is reconcilation and forgivness inorder to give a chance for peace and Love.preachers of hate has no place in 21st century Ethiopia, narrow nationalism and tribalism is extermly backward Philosophy,Mamo learn and grow up!

  7. sis
    | #7

    Dear Ethiopians do not respond to the Mad Mamo. Nothing is expected from a person that grow in the deserts eating anibeta & soil. They do not know humanity. They have already lost their mind. They will see. Even if Kinijit leader may be killed, their spirit is in the hearts of all angry Ethiopians who love their country. “Gizew dersoal. weyane endekelede yikeledibetal. why does Meles’s federal court elongated the firid for march 5. Fear fear fear of ethiopian loving angry people. If do not begin to think humanly, the consequence will be severe.

    May GOD give you an Ethiopian heart.

  8. Tigist
    | #8

    I agree with you sis. We don’t need to waste our time responding to the feeble minded weyannes (hyenas) such as MAMO. Leave him there only when he demonstrate how weyannes think. I think of MAMO as a mouse in a laboratory, so all Ethiopians can see how a weyanne brains function. No, need to talk to the mouse in the lab, just take a look at its reaction to different kinds of testes. MAMO from now on we will see you as mouse in the lab. Keep coming…

  9. | #9

    kkkkkkkkkk…MAFERYA HULA.i know u can’t handel da truth. can u?what biring’t on . u know what i want ? i want those ppl to saffer like my ppl been saffer over 100 years. pay back B******.W4life

  10. Mimi
    | #10

    I think the mouse is trying to say something, but I just don’t get it.

  11. Sirake
    | #11

    Well, it is just making noise. That is nonsense. Mouse can’t communicate!

  12. Yohannes
    | #12

    The TPLF bandits are now locked in a cage.

    Every major news out let in the world has now printed about TPLF’s breach of human rights and attrocities.

    There is no place for Zenawi to hide.

  13. Isaiah T
    | #13

    people be quite about Mamo,he is not a human being.
    he is the stupidest of all stupides ever.he is luky to be here.we know what we do for such kind of kadres.
    any way please divert from Mamo and pray for those who
    are in prison.
    God bless Ethiopia.

  14. geremew
    | #14

    It is a sad reality that some of the prisoners especially the young ones are the victim of KE NUG YETEGEGNEH SELIT ABREH TEWEKET….kind of thing, the rest of the DINOSORS are from the same political era, LIKE TPLF,EPRP,MESON…AND OTHERS,

    These people have their own KURSHO but both sides used the MISKIN and ILL INFORMED Ethiopians to settel their own age old KURSHO. Bringing the two sides together is like trying to mix water and oil.

    One thing I want to say to the day dreamers on this forum is WOYANE IS NOT AS WEAK AS YOU THINK IT IS, AND THEY ARE NOT ANIMALS OR PRIMITIVE PEOPEL LIKE YOU CALL THEM THESE DAYS, THEY ARE WALKING THE WALK AND TALKING THE TALK AND THEY ARE PRESENT AT WHERE THE REAL ACTION IS WHICH IS IN ADDIS.

    So you bunch of loosers can call them whatever you want but they are building and preparing the country for the next generation….I’ll leave you with the words of the man that you hate so much…

    “WUSHOCH YICHOHALU GIMELWA GIN GUZOWAN ATAKUARITIM”

  15. Mesfin
    | #15

    “geremew” you want us to believe that woyane is almighty and unbeatable. If that is the case why that woyane is afraid of free press? Why that woyane is is afraid of peaceful public gathering? Why is that it controls all the media out let in Ethiopia? It is just because woyane is political weak and it is rejected by the majority of the Ethiopian people. Most Ethiopians see woyane as a curse and Meles as evil spirited butcher. Now, if woyane is strong as you want us to believe, it has to face the judgment of the Ethiopian people and accept that, but I doubt that woyane is capable of such a civil and gentle task. Just because, woyane is a group of primitives that are full of envy and inferiority, just because woyane is the offspring of Shabia and misleading the poor Tigray farmers, it doesn’t make it stronger. Woyane has no place in Ethiopians heart, which means no power to run the free will of the Ethiopian people. It has just bunch of weapons and bunch of farmers with it. Yet again that depends of how you defined political strength. If you are civil your strength is the free will and support you got from the majority of your people. If you are primitive, you can define power by the amount of weapon you got and blood you shied. “geremew” you said that “It is a sad reality that some of the prisoners especially the young ones are the victim of KE NUG YETEGEGNEH SELIT ABREH TEWEKE” One more thing that you should know is that we all know the stupid woyane tricks now, so don’t try to divide us by age, gender or ethnic group. I am 24 years old and I care so much about my country Ethiopian as much as my great grand father, grand father and father did. When you post a message on this site, you need to remember that you are not addressing the Tigray farmers. We are open minded, positive Ethiopians with rational thinking. Come up with something constructive and convincing. Other wise we will treat you as “MAMO” the stupid woyane that we always make fun off.

  16. Tigist
    | #16

    I totally agree with you Mesfin. In other hand I have a couple of questions for Geremew. You bragged about TPLF not only does the talking the talk, it also is doing the walk in Addis. Well we know that your master Meles always talks about democracy, but when it comes to the walk, he walks on the innocent Ethiopian children dead body. He say something, he does something else. The Kinijit leaders come up with a bright vision for all Ethiopians and they rally the Ethiopian people both in Addis, the rest of Ethiopia and the Diaspora peacefully. They say no to the Meles puppet Parliament, to keep their promises to the Ethiopia people, and TPLF jailed them for that. If you know, in the modern world that we are living in the Kinijit leaders not only did the talking, they kept their promises and they are still stead fast. That inspires millions and millions of Ethiopians to struggle for democracy. We love the Kinijt leaders, we respect them and we follow their lead. They didn’t hide in Palace like Meles does. They walked among us and shared their vision for Ethiopia and demonstrate their determination for their cause. Now, that is peaceful and civil as it gets. But, woyanes don’t seem to get it. They kill innocent people, shot all the free media imprison all opposition and yet expect the Ethiopia people to respect them and see them as if they are something worthy. That is primitive as it gets.

  17. geremew
    | #17

    Mesfin,

    I don’t expect you to believe anything since you have deep TILACHA against Tigreans, if you was fair person you would have talked about the good things woyane did, I don’t want to go in details but their achivements are like “IN YOUR FACE” kind of facts.

    You tried to mention somethings about press, freedom of assocaition……,for me you sound like YEGEDEL MAMITO because you are just repeating what others saying, I don’t know how long it’s been since you left home but their were a lot of private news papers, megazines up until the problems after the election. As you know, any media outlet in the world is one way or another influenced by it’s owner, take FOX NEWS for instance, so those who you call “free press” in Ethiopia were not free at all. As the governments media was manipulated, some of the news papers and websites were also deliberately manipulated by the owners because of their affiliation with CUD.

    Instead of telling the truth as it is, the so called “FREE PRESS” was adding gas to the fire and most of the time pablishing BERE WELEDE type stories, Having freedom of speach doesn’t give you the right to instigate hate against “supporters” of the government or against certain ethnic groups.

    As for the political strenth of woyane, they have come this far and that speaks for it self, look at where CUD is now?? ooppss!!!! I ment TININISH KINIJITOCH……..

    This trail will come and pass,,,,can’t wait to hear what you loosers will say after that.

    CHUHET BICHA!

  18. Mesfin
    | #18

    Hey geremew, you said that “I don’t expect you to believe anything since you have deep TILACHA against Tigreans” To be honest with you I hate Woyanne so much and you don’t even have any idea how deep is my hatred is. However, I don’t think all Tigreans are Woyannes, so I don’t problem with Tigreans in general. I believe Meles and his gangs like you are the once who hate the Tigreay people. You try to use them as cover for your evil deeds. Second, you said something like the Woyanne achievement being right on my face. Let me tell you what is right on my face. It is the betrayal of Woyanne that cost us the Eritrea as a province in general and Asabe and Meissewa ports in particular; it is the Meles/Woyanne ethnocentric policy that makes the Ethiopian nationalism almost like a sin. If you don’t have a national feeling what is your incentive to live together in harmony? How do you see any Ethiopian equally with the one from your ethnic group? The other point you state and I read with a great interest said “any media outlet in the world is one way or another influenced by it’s owner, take FOX NEWS for instance, so those who you call “free press”? in Ethiopia were not free at all. As the governments media was manipulated, some of the news papers and websites were also deliberately manipulated by the owners because of their affiliation with CUD.” If what you said is true why is that the government journalist are not jailed and charged with treason and genocide? Is it because they work for woyanne? Meles has been saying and calling ethnic groups with bunch of names. I don’t think any body takes Meles seriously and offend by that, but why is that he wasn’t charged of genocide for his (liqe Afe)? Is it because he is Woyanne? Meles always talks about the right of ethnic groups in Ethiopia up to secession. If he really cares that much about Ethiopian ethnic group’s right and all that bull crap, how come he has been a head of states for about 16 years, when he belongs to a minority ethnic group? Is it because he is Woyanne? Pleas answer these questions for yourself and find out why millions and millions of Ethiopians (the vast majority) are against Woyanne. Finally you said “As for the political strenth of woyane, they have come this far and that speaks for it self, look at where CUD is now?? ooppss!!!! I ment TININISH KINIJITOCH”¦”¦..
    This trail will come and pass,,,,can’t wait to hear what you loosers will say after that.

    CHUHET BICHA!”

    Well, Kinijt is relatively a new party, and it is passing through the normal growth paths. I know when the Woyanne deal started long time ago. Meles butchered his then comrades. At least there is nothing crazy like that among Kinijit members. Interims of political power, in a civilized world, political power comes from the majority of the people. In that regard Woyanne doesn’t enjoy the majority support. It only depends on it death squads. In other hand, Knijit is not just a political organization. It is a hope and wish of the majority Ethiopians for their country. It is growing and pushing. It is not going any where. It is in millions and millions of Ethiopians hearts. You just can’t touch that with Agazi death squad. The fact of the mater is that you worried so much about what we think of you as Woyanne, and what we think of our country. That is the evidence of the strength of peaceful struggle. That is why you tried to change our thinking and sugarcoat Woyanne. You just can’t sugarcoat Woyanne. It has just too much blood on it.

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