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Ethiopia to Extradite Double-Murder Suspect to the US

April 30, 2019

An Ethiopian official has revealed his country has finalized preparations to extradite a double-murder suspect to the U.S.

BY ELIAS MESERET, Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian official has revealed his country has finalized preparations to extradite a double-murder suspect to the U.S. either on Monday or Tuesday.

The move to extradite 25-year-old Yohannes Nesibu, an Ethiopia- born U.S national, came after the country’s Attorney General made the decision to do so in recent days.

“The suspect is accused of killing two other people, who were also Ethiopia-born individuals, in Virginia in 2016,” Zinabu Tunu, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Attorney General office, told The Associated Press on Monday. “The request for his extradition came through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. The Attorney General has decided to extradite the suspect after evaluating several evidences presented to it from the division.”

The suspect, who is now in detention in Ethiopia, is also suspected of misusing two guns.

But friends and family members of the suspect have raised questions about the extradition as Ethiopia and the U.S. don’t have an extradition agreement.

“First, the extradition process has to pass a court of law for a check on its legality before the suspect is handed over to U.S. authorities. Second, there’s no extradition agreement between the two countries that allows this,” said Simeneh Kiros, a lawyer for the suspect.

The parents of the suspect also said their son was arrested by Ethiopian police two months ago, after they detained the suspect’s father for six days.

“We want our son to be tried in Ethiopia,” said father Nesibu Bezabih. “Yohannes could face a death penalty in the U.S. Also, he shouldn’t be sent to a country with which Ethiopia has no extradition agreement. There is also the issue to sovereignty that should be considered here.”

The spokesman for the Attorney General stated his office has the power and duty given to it by law to extradite criminal suspects.

“His extradition also took into account his nationality as he is a U.S. citizen. We also have received a pledge by U.S. authorities that the suspect’s rights will be respected,” he said.

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