Prosecutors demand life for Ethiopian war crimes suspect

Presiding Judge Renckens, center, opens the court session in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in the case against a Dutch national of Ethiopian descent for alleged war crimes committed during the 1970's regime in Ethiopia. (AP)
Updated 08 November 2017

Prosecutors demand life for Ethiopian war crimes suspect

THE HAUGE: In a rare move, Dutch prosecutors Wednesday called for a Dutch-Ethiopian national to be jailed for life for “an atrocious campaign” of war crimes during Ethiopia’s “Red Terror” in the 1970s.
“The gravity of the crimes and the interest of the victims and their relatives, call for a life sentence,” the prosecution told the trial in The Hague.
Imposing such a sentence on the suspect, Eshetu Alemu, 63, would “also make clear to the international community how serious the alleged conduct of the suspect is.”
Alemu was “responsible for an atrocious campaign” of war crimes “that include arbitrary detention, torture and killing of opponents of the 1970s revolutionary regime in Ethiopia.”
It “was intended to eradicate all opposition” to the then ruling Marxist-Leninist junta known as the Derg, prosecutors added in a statement.
“The nature and scale of the violence are hard to grasp,” they said, identifying Alemu as a representative for the military regime of former Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in northwestern Gojjam province.
“The case consists of a series of horrors that were purposely inflicted on people. The accused acted as master over life and death,” the prosecutors added.
Alemu has denied four charges of war crimes contained in a 100-page indictment, which includes the names of 321 victims — many of them high-school students.
Among them were 75 people killed in one night in a church in August 1978 whose bodies were then dumped in a mass grave.
But Alemu told the opening of his trial last month that he had never given any orders to execute political opponents.
“I do not recognize the role that has been assigned to me personally,” he said.


Stranded Egyptians return from Sudan, Kuwait and Qatar

Updated 08 July 2020

Stranded Egyptians return from Sudan, Kuwait and Qatar

  • More than 1,000 Egyptians returned from Kuwait, 308 from New York, 174 from Qatar, and 217 from Sudan
  • Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia announced it would be providing Egyptians in Jordan with a flight from Amman to Cairo on July 10

CAIRO: Hundreds of Egyptians who had been stranded overseas because of the COVID-19 pandemic returned to Egypt on Wednesday as the country reopened its airports, which have been closed for three months.

More than 1,000 Egyptians returned from Kuwait, 308 from New York, 174 from Qatar, and 217 from Sudan. The latter came through the Qastal border crossing, which reopened last month after Sudan closed its border in March.

Mustafa Abul-Magd, director general of preventive medicine in Aswan, said that COVID-19 tests were conducted at the quarantine location at the crossing, and that none of the returnees had tested positive.

Meanwhile, Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia announced it would be providing Egyptians in Jordan with a flight from Amman to Cairo on July 10. Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Muhammad Manar Enabah had previously announced that national carrier EgyptAir and Air Cairo would be providing 315 flights to return 57,000 Egyptians stranded abroad. The Egyptian Embassy in Germany has also announced the resumption of flights between the two countries, meaning Egyptian expats there can also return home.

Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram thanked all Arab countries for their support of Egyptian workers abroad during the COVID-19 crisis, and stressed that the whole country has worked to repatriate all Egyptians who wanted to return. “The Egyptian citizen is now prioritized in the country. The state has managed to deal with the anxieties of Egyptians abroad,” Makram said.

Journalist Hassan Al-Rashidi told Arab News that Egypt — with the help of several other countries — has “proven that it never forgets its citizens, even in times of crisis.”
Al-Rashidi added that the suspension of flights had had a major impact on tourism, which plays a huge role in Egypt’s economy. He said the resumption of flights would see many tourism jobs reinstated.