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Home >> World
UPDATED: 13:11, July 31, 2005
US to deport torture suspect to Ethiopia
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Kelbessa Negewo, suspected mastermind of the infamous tortures of dissidents during the 1970's in Ethiopia, has been ordered deportation by a US federal immigration judge to his home country, state media reported Saturday.

Kelbessa is on the top list of Ethiopia's most wanted extraditables for committing numerous acts of torture during the then military dictatorship rule in Ethiopia in the 1970's, according to the Ethiopian news agency.

The report quoted US immigration judge William A. Cassidy as saying that Kelbessa was responsible for arresting, torturing and killing perceived political opponents in Ethiopia during the 1970's as part of the military dictatorship led by Mengistu Haile Mariam.

Court records show that Kelbessa served as chairman of what was called the "Higher 9," one of several specialized units in Addis Ababa that employed a campaign of torture, arbitrary imprisonment and summary executions against perceived enemies of the government.

The report also quoted US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Sue Brown as saying that Kelbessa came to the United States on a student visa in August 1987.

A year later, she said, he applied for and ultimately obtained immigration benefits in the United States, where he later adjusted to a permanent resident and became a citizen.

An investigation by ICE agents into Kelbessa, who was living and working in the Atlanta area, began after several of his reputed torture victims who had relocated from Ethiopia to Atlanta encountered him in the city by chance.

The ICE investigation showed that Kelbessa made false statements about his past human rights violations to obtain his US citizenship, which led to a revocation of it in October 2004.

Kelbessa was arrested under provisions of the intelligence reform act in January and put in detention to await an immigration hearing, which took place on Tuesday.

US judge Cassidy, after two days of testimony, denied all relief and ordered Kelbessa removed from the United States.

Source: Xinhua

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