Update: Former Norfolk State University Professor Sentenced to Life in Prison in Ethiopia Is Now Pardoned and Set Free

Several weeks ago JBHE reported that Yacob Hailemariam, who served on the faculty at Norfolk State University in Virginia for more than 20 years, was convicted of treason in an Ethiopian court. Last week the court spared his life but sentenced him to life imprisonment. Then, in a surprise, he was pardoned and set free.

In 2005 Professor Hailemariam gave up his faculty position at Norfolk State University to return to his native Ethiopia to run for parliament. He was elected along with a host of other reform politicians. But Prime Minister Meles Zenawi stripped the reform politicians of power in the new government. Supporters of the reform movement took to the streets in protest. More than 200 people were killed in riots that followed.

Hailemariam and 37 of his colleagues subsequently were arrested and charged with treason and genocide. All were convicted and sentenced. They have now all been released from prison.