AN EVENING WITH DR. YACOB HAILEMARIAM
Presented by Tidewater Peace Alliance and co-sponsored by
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Hampton Roads Group 633,
as part of the 3rd Annual
LIGHT IN THE DARK: FESTIVAL FOR PEACE
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 PM
The Studio for the Healing Arts
1611 Colley Avenue, Second Floor
One block north of the Naro cinema in the Ghent section of Norfolk
Dr. Yacob Hailemariam served as a professor of business law at Norfolk State University for 20 years. He worked for the United Nations as a Senior Legal adviser in West Africa and as Senior Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In 2004 he put his career on hold to travel to his homeland of Ethiopia to run for parliament in his home district. During the campaign he became a very popular public figure and was chosen to chair the international relations committee of the leading opposition party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD). He was elected to parliament by an overwhelming majority on May 15, 2005.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi refused to accept the results of the election. When mass protests erupted, the government killed hundreds of people and arrested Dr. Yacob and scores of other elected members of Parliament on Oct. 31, 2005. Charged with treason, inciting violence, and genocide, they were sentenced to life in prison. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations denounced the politically motivated prosecutions and declared the members of Parliament to be prisoners of conscience. After an international campaign of nearly two years, thirty-eight CUD members, including Dr. Hailemariam, were released in July, 2007. Dr. Yacob was reunited with his family in Hampton Roads in October, 2007. However, many political prisoners remain in Ethiopian prisons today.
Dr. Hailemariam will discuss the struggle for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa and the international campaign that led to his release from prison.
Contact Amnesty International Hampton Roads at firstname.lastname@example.org.