Amstelveen man could face life in prison for Ethiopian war crimes

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Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton). (Lady Justice (Picture: Twitter/@danvelton))

The Public Prosecutor demanded life in prison against 63-year-old Eshetu A. from Amstelveen for war crimes committed in Ethiopia in the 70s. A. is charged with imprisoning, torturing and murdering dozens of supposed opponents of the Derg regime, ANP reports. 

A. called the allegations against him "very shocking", but insists that the Prosecutor has the wrong man. According to him, many people in Ethiopa have the same name as him. 

The suspect was a member of the Derg, a movement that took power in Ethiopia after the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie. He came to the Netherlands as an asylum seeker and eventually got Dutch citizenship. 

A. extensively spoke about his role within the Derg in court on Monday. According to him, he mostly made propaganda. The court said that he had a lot of power in the province of Gojam as a member of the Derg, but A. denied that he was "the boss". 

A. was previously convicted of war crimes in Ethiopia and first sentence to the death penalty, and later to life imprisonment. He was not present for that trial, because he was already living in the Netherlands. As an Ethiopian verdict can not be executed in the Netherlands, the Dutch authorities launched a new criminal case against him. A. was arrested in Amstelveen in 2015, where he lived for years. He's been in custody ever since. 

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