LEWISBURG, Pa. – A former Bucknell faculty member who had been jailed in Ethiopia since November 2005 has been released, along with 37 other opposition members.

Berhanu Nega, who taught economics at Bucknell from 1990-94, was jailed shortly after being elected mayor of Addis Ababa. In a move that rights groups claim was politically motivated, he and others were charged with treason, inciting violence, and trying to overthrow the government.

Nega’s release and pardon comes four days after the prisoners were given jail terms, 35 of them receiving life sentences. The prosecution had been pushing for the death penalty.

Support for Nega from the collegiate community began soon after his imprisonment in 2005, and continued up until the announcement of his release.

An email thanking supporters was sent to faculty and staff Friday by Janet Knoedler, associate professor of economics; John Rickard, professor of English; Jean Shackelford, professor of economics; and Charles Sackrey, a retired economics professor:

“Berhanu is, for the first time in 18 months, with his family. Bucknell's full and continued support of Berhanu helped to keep pressure up for his release, and we want to express our great appreciation to all of you who wrote letters and made phone calls on his behalf.”

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted July 20, 2007

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