Berhanu Nega, an associate professor of economics, faces another jail term in his homeland.
LEWISBURG -- Bucknell University economics professor Berhanu Nega knows the Ethiopian government would imprison him if he were to return to his homeland.
dream for democracy in the African nation of 81 million people has not died.
continues to be an outspoken supporter of opposition leaders.
The group's leader, Berhanu Nega, is a charismatic politician who was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in that election.
was arrested afterward, convicted of treason, and sentenced to life in prison along with more than 100 other opposition leaders.
All were later pardoned.
Berhanu now lives in the United States, where he is an economics professor at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.
government statement said security forces had foiled a terror network formed by Berhanu
to wage armed struggle against the government.
In a telephone interview Monday, Berhanu
confirmed that Ginbot Seven's
aim is to overthrow the government by any means possible.
told VOA security forces had surrounded his
parents' Addis Ababa home and confiscated their cellphones.
- Profile: Dr. Berhanu Nega
- Profile: Dr. Berhanu Nega
(born 1958) was nominated to be the mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
in the Ethiopian general elections, 2005.
He is a founding chairman of the Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice and a Deputy Chairman of Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), for whom he served as chief election campaign strategist.
Born in Debre Zeyit, Berhanu attended Addis Ababa University where he participated in the student movement against the ruling Derg government in his freshman year.
When the government acted against political dissidents in 1977, Berhanu
with other radical student activists fled to Mount Asimba in northern Ethiopia.
After a division within the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party, he
was detained for openly criticizing killings within EPRP.
After a few months, he
was released by his
captors and crossed into the Sudan
lived for two years until he
was granted political asylum in the United States.
He did his undergraduate degree in economics at the State University of New York and got his PhD in economics from the New School for Social Research, in New York City.
During that time, he
became one of the organizers of an annual conference on the "Horn of Africa" that debated and analyzed the political, social and economic conditions in the sub-region.
For over five years, it served as a forum for intellectual dialogue among political leaders, policy analysts and researchers interested in developments in that part of Africa.
Having completed his PhD studies, he joined the faculty of economics at Bucknell University, where he became a lecturer in economics for three years.
Later he founded Imbilta, a bi-monthly magazine focusing on economic, political, social and current affairs in Ethiopia and he was the founding chairman of Ethiopian Economic Association.
In 1989, Berhanu
married Dr. Nardos Minasse.
On May 14, 2008 Dr. Berhanu Nega
, along with other former members of the CUD
, founded a political movement called GINBOT 7: Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy and become a headache to Meles Zenawi.
Post prison, Dr. Nega found himself in a rivalary with Chairman Hailu Shawel when the CUD party split into two.
currently a resident scholar in the US.
political motive is not clear for many Ethiopians.
There had been a lot of questions published on many newspapers before the 2005 election about his
position in the struggle against the Ethiopian government.
didn't try to clarify any of them.
participation in the famous EPRP is another big question he
is expected to address because his
participation in the EPRP had shrouded in mystery and no one knows where he
stands regarding his
current relations with EPRP.
use of religious words is another saddening event for many Ethiopians who knew him not to believe in GOD at all.
September 11,2008(Sep01,2001 Ethipian Calendar) Dr. Berhanu Nega
made a remarkable speech on the opening of the Ginbot7 Radio station and the celebration of Ethiopian first new year after the Ethiopian Millennium.
Dr. Berhanu Nega
is a leader of Ginbot 7
- Operation Of 'Terrorist Group' Foiled: Taskforce
, April 25, 2009 (ENA) - Terrorist operation being advanced by a terrorist group calling itself "Ginbot 7" was foiled, the National Intelligence, Security Service and Federal Police Joint Anti-Terrorist Taskforce of Ethiopia
In a press statement it sent to ENA on Saturday
, the taskforce said the subversive activities of the terrorist group, which was established by Dr. Berhanu Nega
, has declared an armed struggle to dismantle the national constitutional system through force saying that there is no more peaceful struggle.
"I'm very suspicious that there was an attempt at all," said Berhanu Nega
during an interview at his
home outside of Lewisburg in north-central Pennsylvania.
"This is not a government that has any credibility whatsoever in terms of telling the truth."
did not know who may have been arrested, and said it could have easily been some sort of overreaction.
"The government, every time, it panics," he
"It's always treason, always acting against the government."
, 51, said he
came to the U.S. as a young man in 1980, is married to an American citizen and has two sons.
He is an associate professor of economics at nearby Bucknell University, a private liberal-arts school that enrolls about 3,400 undergraduates.
He previously taught at the university from 1990 until 1994, when he returned to Ethiopia to work at Addis Ababa University, according to a profile on the university's Web site.
In 2005, he became the country's first elected mayor when he won the mayoral race in Addis Ababa, the nation's capital.
But post-election violence over the election results led the Ethiopian government to shoot 193 protesters and to later jail Berhanu
, other opposition leaders and thousands of supporters.
said the party was not responsible for the violent demonstrations.
The opposition leaders stood trial for nearly two years on charges of challenging the constitutional order _ the charge was lessened from treason.
The main clique of 38 opposition leaders pleaded guilty and were pardoned in 2007 after appealing to the government.
and several other party leaders then left for the U.S., returning to the country in August 2007.
as a visiting international scholar in economics in Spring 2008.
"It became very clear immediately after our release that they will not at all tolerate any opposition, meaningful opposition," he
also urged President Obama's
administration to "carefully revisit its policy toward Ethiopia
"It is just unseemly for any democratic government such as the United States to have any relationship with it," he
Ethiopia has arrested 35 people suspected of a coup attempt allegedly backed by Dr. Berhanu Nega, an Ethiopian economist now living in the United States
Ginbot 7 is led by Berhanu Nega, who was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in the 2005 election.
never took office.
was jailed and convicted of treason along with more than 100 other opposition leaders in connection with violent post-election demonstrations in which nearly 200 protestors were killed.
and the others spent 20 months in prison before being pardoned.
After his release, Berhanu went to the United States, where he is currently a professor of economics at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.
A page on the university Web site says he
has urged the United States and other western nations to back democratic movements in Ethiopia
and other African countries by withdrawing support for dictators.
Opposition Web sites such as "Ginbot 7' are blocked in Ethiopia
has in the past accused Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
of creating a one-party state.