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Fikre Selassie Wogderess

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Fikre Selassie Wogderess

Fikre Selassie Wogderess (born c.1941), was the Prime Minister of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) from 10 September 1987 to 8 November 1989.

Fikre had been one of the more obscure members of the Derg, until the coup of 3 February 1977, in which Secretary-General Tafari Benti was killed along with seven other Derg members. The coup elevated him (Bahru Zewde notes "according to some sources from near execution by reason of mistaken identity!") to Secretary-General, in which post he would occasionally dispel "the atmosphere of total sycophancy" with his "fractionally independent disposition."[1]

While Prime Minister, Fikre Selassie made a trip to Cairo in November 1988 to seek improved relations with Egypt, and to express support for Egypt's offer to negotiate a settlement of the Eritrean conflict.[2] Mengistu Haile Mariam ordered him removed, having criticized him three days prior in a meeting of the Politburo of the Workers Party of Ethiopia, stating "there is no one quite like Fikre Selassie, who sits idly and quietly. One time, he sat here reading a magazine.... He is not antirevolutionary or a criminal, nor is he conspiratorial.... But he is unstable and even rude.... He is being expelled for disciplinary reasons also."[3]

Following the conclusion of the Ethiopian Civil War and the end of the PDRE, Fikre was one of 46 former leaders of the PDRE who were tried in person beginning 19 April 1996 for murdering individuals, genocide and crimes against humanity by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; 22 more individuals, including former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam were charged in absentia at the same trial.[4] The trial ended 26 May 2008, and Fikre Selassie Wogderess was sentenced to death. In December, 2010, the Ethiopian government has commuted the death sentence of Fikre Selassie and other 23 Derg officials. On October 4, 2011, Fikre Selassie has been freed along with other 16 of his former colleagues, after twenty years of incarceration. The Ethiopian government paroled almost all of those Derg officials that have been jailed for 20 years.

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