Mengistu Hailemariam sentenced to death

(Agence France Presse) — ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopia’s exiled former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was sentenced to death Monday, oversaw the 1977-78 “Red Terror” when tens of thousands were tortured, murdered and disappeared.

Now 71 and living a comfortable life in exile in Zimbabwe, the man who came to be known as the Red Negus (“emperor” in Amharic) was convicted in December 2006, after a marathon trial, of genocide, homicide, illegal imprisonment and illegal confiscation of property.

The purge of politicians, intellectuals and other perceived foes came as his regime began trying to transform imperial Ethiopia with its ancient Christian heritage into a Soviet-style workers’ state.

Mengistu, a lieutenant colonel in the army, was a member of the Derg, the military junta which ran the country after the fall of emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

Three years later he became head of the Marxist regime in a bloody coup which saw head of state General Teferi Bante assassinated.

Mengistu became the de facto ruler, running the cabinet and the military council, and instituted the Red Terror, which saw numerous arrests and thousands of killings across the Horn of Africa nation.

Already chief of the armed forces and secretary general of the Workers’ Party of Ethiopia (WPE), Mengistu was in September 1987 officially confirmed president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Seriously threatened from February 1991 by a coordinated offensive by the separatist Tigre People’s Liberation Front and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe the following May.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, an old ally of Mengistu, offered him political asylum and has since refused to extradite him to Ethiopia. In 1996, he escaped an assassination bid in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

Born in 1937 at Wallayata, Mengistu Haile Mariam became a career soldier like his father, graduating from the officer training college at Holetta in 1966 and doing a brief spell of further training in the United States.

After taking part in an uprising against Haile Selassie in 1960, he was a delegate in the armed forces coordinating committee at the time of the February 1974 revolution.

Many Ethiopians still remember Mengistu, with his dark skin and big moustache, haranguing crowds at Revolution, now Meskal, Square, in the heart of Addis Ababa, along with the interminable military parades he organised.

Considered as the brain behind the revolution and a leading member of the Derg from the start, Mengistu in seven months put an end to the world’s oldest surviving empire.

In his rise to power, he showed considerable political skills and was brutally intransigent regarding his opponents.

As well as the Red Terror, Mengistu and his former top aides were also accused of the murders of Haile Selassie and Orthodox Patriarch Abuna Tefelows.

Backed by the pro-Soviet socialist movement during a conflict with Somalia over the eastern Ogaden region, then faced with a nationalist rebellion in Eritrea, Mengistu signed an alliance with the Soviet Union in 1978 and created the Marxist-Leninist WPE in 1984.

He held the rotating presidency of the Addis-Ababa based Organisation of African Unity (today’s African Union) in 1983-84.

In May 1989, Mengistu crushed a coup attempt and executed 12 generals. The following year, he announced more liberal policies aimed at pulling Ethiopia out of economic disaster and civil war. He took accompanying steps to woo the West after renewing diplomatic ties with Israel.

23 comments on “Mengistu Hailemariam sentenced to death

  1. Chala on

    the next person will be your dictator leader meles zenawi! Not the person who every day exposes the tyrant’s ruthless and merciless activity!!
    Elias keep up the good work!

  2. ato dereje on

    “Mengistu Hailemariam” did the best job for his country than melese has done since his appointment in office!

  3. Fact on

    Except time-phase, what was / is the difference between number of ethiopians killed, starved and tide of exiled by Meles’s and Mengistu’s groups? If so, why you do not start this execution from these primitive Woyanee groups?

  4. Ammarresa on

    About time this son of a whore got what he deserves. He has done irreparable damage to the most crucial resources of this impoverished country; its educated populace.

  5. Assta B. Gettu on

    Is it possible to pass a death sentence on Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi) who has been killing Ethiopia economically, politically, culturally, and morally for over 17 years? But, even if we pass a death sentence on him, the United States would over turn it and give him an asylum here in the United States.

  6. Anonymous on

    mengistu was bad but he love hos coutry
    meles is worst he love only the tigreans

  7. Mahidere Mariam on

    All we know that Menigisu was one of those dictators in Africa. But he had a vision for Ethiopia. He envisioned a great and super power Ethiopia. This ambition of him was a real threat to Western countries including US, and as such they worked hard to get topplled down him which they succeded.

    For me Mengistu was far better than this banda. Now the henious crime being commited by this child killer banda makes me miss Mengistu who had unweavering love to his country.

  8. Ewnet on

    #2 you are damn.Have you watched ETN lately?Elias wondu keep up the good job.I wish we had more jegna like you.I was not happy with your stand with Eritrea before now you made it so clear.Elias be careful with what you say and do there are some morones who are narrow minded and bunch of hodams like #2.God Bless you!

  9. haile on

    i still believe that everybody ,sooner or later , will the pay price for the intentional loss of citizens life in his or her reign.

    God bless Ethiopia and our YEwah people

  10. Berhe on

    Legesse Zenawi is the worst government than Mengistu. If death sentence for Mengistu, than what for Legesse Zenawi?

  11. starface on

    Comparing two evils is difficult. I have a hard time to differentiate between Mengistu and Meles. Both are killers. The only difference is Mengistu was a killer who tried to preserve the nation. Meles is systematically dismantling the nation and giving it away to everybody asking for it, that is on top of his daily killing spree. Raping of Somali children by his soldiers, lynching Somali boys daily, torturing Oromos, on and on make the comparison a little easier, I guess.

  12. Tsehay Demeke on

    The coward scum-bag aka mengistu hailemariam deserves double
    and triple death sentence.

  13. Qorahey on

    Without a doubt,Meles is worse than Mengistu.He was less tribalistic and more presdential than this sadistic Meles.

  14. Konjit on

    If this kind of justice really will be true we have hope to see Melese with the same fate.

  15. Menbere on

    Chala you are right !!!!
    the next person will be you and your dictator boss meles zenawi! Not the person who every day exposes the tyrant’s ruthless and merciless activity!!
    Elias keep up the good work!

  16. Dan on

    You guys must have a short memory or didn’t exist during those terror or state terror conducted by the butcher of Addis.( Butcher –someone who is responsible for killing of large number of people in a brutal manner.) The sad thing is we don’t have a good full account of what happened during the durge regime, except the little we know what the East Germans had documented when they were training Mengistu and his collaborators.

    We Ethiopians have this mentality “YALEFEW ALEFE”. The civilized world learn from the past. That is how you avoid repeating such horrible act.

    When I hear you guys say “Mengistu loved his country” I feel sick in the stomach. Tell that to the hundred thousands of ethiopians whose loved ones, young and old, were butchered. What does love of a country mean when you destroy its people?

    Mengistu and Meles are both evil doers but you do not compare them. They are both Wicked criminals. And Each should face justice. I do not believe in capital punishment but they both should be brought to justice and sent to jail for life.

    Any future aspiring leader should spend time with each of them & take a lesson or two that if he become like one of them he will join them too

  17. መስፍን on

    መለስ ናዚያዊ በመዘነበት ሚዛን ይመዘናል ታሪክ አድሎ አያውቅም
    የነ ጫልቱ ጫጫታ ፈር የሳተና የሚያሳዝን ነው
    Ethiopia needs more people like Elias dedicated to their profession and serve all.

  18. Hagos Araya on

    The next one is going to be Meles and his gangesters will face a death penality. I know it seems a kind of dream for those who are in power with dectator meles, but the fact is that is only a matter of time these tplf gagngsters will face thier death penalities for the crimes they have done. Actually, death penality is the easiest they face compare to the crimes they have done. However, the ethiopian people will revenge these tplf gangesters and thier pupputs sooner or later. By the way Elias God Bless you and keep up the good job!

  19. Well i will never ever forever forgive mengistu for executing my best friend’s dad Who the hell gave him a right to take somebody’s life.He was one of the generals.

  20. Madey on

    Supporting some one blindlessly and hating onother will not help eithopians. And as ur minds function this way, the bottom line of ur future will be in living a life below zero. And u will come to know when ceaseless civil war erupts for decades in ur homeland. Just feel one nation, one people, one country. And stay in solidarity. Thats better options!

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