Bucknell University Professor Sentenced to Death by an Ethiopian Court

Berhanu Nega, associate professor of economics at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in absentia to death by a court in Ethiopia. Nega’s alleged crime was that he conspired to assassinate government officials during violence that followed elections in the East African country in 2005.

A native of Ethiopia, Nega immigrated to the United States in 1980. He graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz and went on to earn a Ph.D. in economics at the New School in New York City. He joined the faculty at Bucknell in 1990. Four years later he returned to Ethiopia to teach at Addis Ababa University. There he became involved in the democracy movement and in 2005 was elected mayor of the capital city of Addis Ababa. After the election, Nega and 100 opposition leaders were rounded up after the election and jailed. He remained in prison for 21 months and was then exiled to the United States. He rejoined the faculty at Bucknell.