Berhanu Bayeh and Addis Tedla will be set free from nearly three decades of confinement to the Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa.
December 24, 2020
Berhanu Bayeh and Tedla Addis were confined to the Italian Embassy compound in Addis Ababa for nearly three decades on grounds of diplomatic immunity.
It seems they will walk free, sooner rather than later, from the compound and get to see Addis Ababa, a city that is very much changed.
Ethiopian Federal High Court ruled on Thursday that two former members of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam Administration, Berhanu Bayeh (83) and Addis Tedla (74), be released from Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa.
It was the Office of Attorney General that announced the decision in a press briefing.
They have been in the embassy since Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) took over power in Addis Ababa in May 1991. Although the embassy was providing protection, they were looked after by their families, according to government sources.
They were initially sentenced to death in absentia along with Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam. According to a report by Fana Broadcasting Corporate, they have been appealing to embassy authorities and, Ethiopian government authorities.
Last week, the office of President Sahle Work Zewde announced that the death sentences have been changed to life in prison. They have never been in prison but were in a prison like situation.
According to the office of the prosecutor general, they have entitlement for parole as their condition is considered as over twenty years in prison. It means that they will walk free.
Berhanu Bayeh has served as Foreign Affairs Minister of Ethiopia during Colonel Mengistu’s government while Haddis Tedla was a military general.
The number of Derg officials who took refugee at the Italian Embassy were initially four. But two of them died. Hailu Yimenu, committed suicide the same year he found himself in the embassy (1991). Let. Gen. Tesfaye Gebrekidan kidan, who was acting president after Colonel Mengistu left the country, was killed after a brawl with Berhanu Bayeh.
Photo credit : Addis Admas via Ethiopian Observer
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