Former NSU professor still jailed in Ethiopia

By Jason Marks
A retired Norfolk State professor awaits his fate in Ethiopia. Dr. Yacob Hailemariam left NSU and returned to his native country to run for office. Even though he won he was still jailed by the ruling regime.
That was a year ago. Now an international effort is going down to the wire to save his life. The court process has gone on now for months however the former professor could know his fate as early as tomorrow.
It has been an agonizing year not only for Hailemariam, but for his family.
"It's very much up and down," said Hailemariam's daughter Seyenie Yacob. "You hear things that might be a little bit hopeful here and there, so you get excited and then it doesn't come through."
Seyenie worries about her father who is more than 7,200 miles away. He could be sentenced to death by the Ethiopian government. Hailemariam retired from NSU in 2005 and decided to run for a parliament seat in his native country. Not only did he win, he became the instant leader of his party. However he never took his seat in office. The ruling government threw him in jail and charged him with treason.
"We knew that there was going to be many challenges and risks," added Seyenie.
Hailemariam was convicted in June. He's now waiting to be sentenced. Seyenie was able to visit her dad in March.
"It was very tough especially cause I had not seen him in over a year," said Seyenie. "I saw him in a very public setting for the first time with the other fellow prisoners."
The U.S. is trying to help out. Trying to free a man who just wanted to help people who were in desperate need of help. He did that by taking a risk, a risk his daughter says is worth it.
"Big changes like this don't happen easily for any country," added Seyenie. "We are really hoping that he will be a part of something great for Ethiopia one day."
Seyenie says her father has no regrets about leaving NSU and heading back to Ethiopia. Amnesty International, a human right organization is working very hard to see that he is released. Of course we'll keep you posted.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at12:17 AM


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