Los Angeles - An Ethiopian war criminal was convicted on Friday
of lying to US authorities to obtain an American passport and move to the US
state of Colorado, prosecutors said.
Kefelegn Alemu Worku, who US authorities say was
responsible for persecuting, torturing and murdering defenceless people during
Ethiopia's "Red Terror" in the late 1970s, faces up to 22 years in
During an "emotional" week-long jury trial
victims, whom he personally tortured gave evidence against him, said US
Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh.
"Their testimony was chilling, as was the fact that
the defendant at trial sat with his back turned to them as they testified,
until ordered by the court to turn around so that his victims could identify
him," Walsh's office said.
Alemu Worku, who lived in the United States under an
alias, was convicted of identity theft and lying to gain entry to the country,
ultimately becoming a naturalised citizen. Judge John L Kane stripped Alemu
Worku of his US citizenship with immediate effect.
"Although no order of a US court can undo the crimes
perpetrated by the defendant in Ethiopia, this trial offered Alemu Worku's
victims the opportunity to speak the truth bravely, for all to hear and to see
that a measure of justice would be done, at long last," said Walsh.
Thanking various federal law enforcement agencies, he
added: "In the end, their efforts and the courage of the victims who
testified have ensured that Alemu Worku is no longer able to hide 'in plain
Alemu Worku will be sentenced on 19 December.