The Zimbabwean government refused again Thursday to consider extraditing former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam following his sentencing in absentia by a court in Addis Ababa to life in prison for genocide.
Ethiopian prosecutors had demanded the death penalty for Mengistu, whose Marxist government carried out political purges that killed thousands of Ethiopians.
Mengistu now lives in Zimbabwe, where he fled in 1991 after his ouster by rebels loyal to Ethiopia's current prime minister, Meles Zenawi.
Acting Information Minister Paul Mangwana told Agence France Presse that “comrade Mengistu still remains a special guest of the Zimbabwean government.” He added that the former Ethiopian ruler had helped in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.
Mangwana told Reuters Harare has not received an extradition request from Ethiopia.
But some civil society groups continue to urge the government to hand over Mengistu to Ethiopian authorities, among them the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Reporter Jonga Kandemiiri asked human rights lawyer Otto Saki why he believes Harare should send Mengistu back to Addis Ababa.