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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 09:46 GMT
Mengistu 'to remain in Zimbabwe'
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam has lived in exile in Zimbabwe for 15 years
Ethiopia's Marxist ex-ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam will not be extradited from exile in Zimbabwe to face justice, Zimbabwe's government has said.

Mengistu was found guilty in absentia on Tuesday of genocide after a 12-year trial in the capital, Addis Ababa.

"Mengistu applied for asylum and we granted him... the position remains the same," Zimbabwean Information Minister Paul Mangwana told Reuters news agency.

Mengistu and dozens of his officials could face the death penalty.

Under his rule, thousands of suspected opponents to the regime were rounded up and executed and their bodies tossed on the streets - a campaign known as the Red Terror.

Guest

After being ousted in 1991, the former leader fled to Zimbabwe, where his friend President Robert Mugabe gave him sanctuary.

MENGISTU HAILE MARIAM
1937: Born in Walayitta
1974: Emperor Haile Selassie overthrown
1977-78: Thousands killed during Red Terror
1994: Genocide trial in Ethiopia begins
2006: Found guilty of genocide

Mr Mugabe has always refused requests to extradite Mengistu to Ethiopia.

"We have no control over the judiciary process in other countries but we are also a sovereign state and as I am talking now that position we made has not changed," Mr Mangwana said.

He said that if there was a change in Zimbabwe's position it would be announced.

"As of now he remains our guest and we will continue to accommodate him," he said.

All bar one of the other 72 officials also on trial were found guilty of genocide at the trial in Addis Ababa.

Thirty-four people were in court, 14 others have died during the lengthy process and 25, including Mengistu, were tried in absentia.

Sentencing is expected on 28 December.

Mengistu himself refuses to recognise the legal basis of the trial, accusing those who overthrew him of being mercenaries and colonisers.


SEE ALSO
Profile: Mengistu Haile Mariam
12 Dec 06 |  Africa
Red Terror 'hard to forgive'
31 Jul 03 |  Africa
A time to forgive?
25 Jul 03 |  Africa
Mengistu defends 'Red Terror'
28 Dec 99 |  Africa



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