Swiss Reject Ethiopia’s Request to Extradite Co-Pilot

Co-pilot Hailemedhin brought world and media attention towards the gross human rights abuses, brutal killings and the daily party bureaucracy and institutional racism within the Ethiopian Airlines by hi-jacking his own plane
Co-pilot Hailemedhin brought world and media attention towards the gross human rights abuses, brutal killings and the daily party bureaucracy and institutional racism within the Ethiopian Airlines by hi-jacking his own plane

By Abreha Belay,

THE Swiss government has rejected Ethiopia’s request to extradite a co-pilot who had hijacked an airliner last February.

Hailemedhin Abera, 30, hijacked an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane that was on an Addis Ababa-Rome route and landed it safely in the Swiss city, thereby requesting a political asylum. The 202 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 767 plane were not harmed. 

The VOA quoted a spokesperson of the Swiss Federal Justice Ministry as saying that criminal proceedings were underway for charges of hijacking a plane. For this reason, the spokesperson said, it was decided not to extradite the person to Ethiopia.

Ethiopia and Switzerland don’t have an extradition treaty.

The verdict comes as a victory for the pro-democracy Ethiopian Diaspora which had held several solidarity demonstrations and urged the Swiss government not to extradite the co-pilot to Addis Ababa, where the ruling party is often accused by reputable organizations such as Human Rights Watch of gross human rights violations.

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