Ethiopian Prominent Scholar, Prof. Mesfin Woldemariam, author of more than a dozen books on Ethiopian history & politics & founder of Ethiopian Human Rights Council passed away at age 90.
Pro. Mesfin was among the leading scholar element for peaceful political change in Ethiopia, demonstrated his ability to impact the people in the recent time of mass waive protest. He received his early education at Teferi Mekonnen School, and was a student of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, receiving ordination as a deacon in 1946.
He completed his further education in London in 1951, and won a scholarship to study abroad. He received his BA from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 1955 and his MA and Ph.D. from Clark University in 2007 by dissertation rural vulnerability to famine in Ethiopia.
Prof. Mesfin was professor of geography at Haile Selassie University (now Addis Ababa University or AAU), and for a time was head of the geography department. He was also a senior Fulbright scholar in 1971, 1986 and 1987.
Responding to a student petition, on 8 April 2001 Mesfin and Berhanu Nega held a day-long panel discussion at the hall of the National Lottery on academic freedom. They were arrested on the allegations that this panel incited a student protest at AAU the next day, but released on bail 5 June and neither were ever tried.
In November 2005, the EPRDF ruling party of Ethiopia detained Mesfin on charges of treason, genocide and outrage against the constitution, along with other leading members of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD "Knjit").
He was held at "Kaliti Prison". During his incarceration, Mesfin took part in two hunger strikes in December 2005 and January 2006, protesting his detention and trial. He later contracted pneumonia, collapsing in his prison cell 18 August, and was taken to the hospital. The court was supposed to deliver the verdict on 19 February 2007. However, Mesfin, and 37 others were pronounced guilty on 11 June 2007.
This judgment occurred after Mesfin refused to defend himself, insisting that the arrest, charges, detention and trial was politically motivated and that the trial was not likely to be fair.
Along with 37 others, he was convicted on the basis of the prosecution evidence and prevented from making a statement in court after the prosecution case ended. The prosecutor is said to have presented video and audio evidence. The judge ruled that as they had not submitted a defense and were guilty as charged.
Mesfin, along with the 37 other Ethiopian opposition party officials, prominent human rights defenders and journalists on trial with him, were freed on July 20, 2007.
Prof. Mesfin died at age 90, on Tusday Sept, 2020. He is lucky enough to see the distraction of TPLF leaded EPRDF ruling party, before he passed away.
Rest in Eternal Peace!