Mengistu found guilty of mass murder (Mick Hartley)
January 11, 2007
The Red Terror
Another mass-murdering tyrant is found guilty:
Former Ethiopian ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam has been sentenced to life in prison on genocide charges.From an earlier BBC profile:
The former leader was found guilty last month after a 12-year trial, although he is living in exile in Zimbabwe.
After his conviction, Zimbabwe said it would not extradite him and many fear he will never face justice.
In a notorious campaign - known as the Red Terror - thousands of suspected opponents were rounded up and executed and their bodies tossed on the streets.
The president's dream was to turn Ethiopia into a Soviet-style workers' state.Bob Geldof never told us about that.
Thousands of intellectuals, professionals and other perceived opponents of socialism and the regime were killed during the "Red Terror" years.
At the time, the country was embroiled in a war with Somalia, which was armed and backed by the Soviet Union. Mengistu encouraged Moscow to switch sides.
An alliance was formed, which saw the Soviet Union pour more than $10bn of military aid into the country during the 1980s. [Including about 17,000 Cuban troops. --JW]
For years, Mengistu relied on the Soviet Union for his economic thinking.
He saw himself as a Third World champion of communism. Alongside portraits of Lenin, Engels and Marx, he hung huge portraits of himself leading the masses to victory.
He spent much of his leisure time reading Marxist-Leninist tracts and wore Soviet-cut military jackets and caps.