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American citizen in limbo in Ethiopia

An American citizen is in limbo in Ethiopia and is running out of options.

The 30-something mysterious American who has been in Ethiopia for the last three years, according to him, to “travel and be exposed to Ethiopia” is alleging of being asked to pay a total of approximately USD 9000 for the days he has stayed in the country without permit from Immigration. He has taken his desperate plea to social media in a last-minute appeal to the government to help him come to a conclusion and have him leave.

“I am an American in Ethiopia who had his passport confiscated by the immigration office in Addis Ababa,” he tweeted to FitsumArega, the close confidante of PM Abiy Ahmed and the designated Ethiopian ambassador to the US, to PM Abiy and the President of FDRE, SahleworkZewdie. “They are asking for over USD 9000 for an overstay penalty that I can’t pay. They have incarcerated me for four weeks in jail without due process.I was freed two weeks ago with no visa and won’t give me a court appointment.”

The individual, who is not identified publicly for personal issues, told The Reporter that the United States Embassy was little of assistance to him and he has been forced to look for help via social media.

Nevertheless, powerful people have responded to him, including FitsumArega and others with help but little has changed for him.

“Well, what does the Ethiopian law say about jailing someone for four weeks without due process, and threatening to give them more years in jail without any court day? Then, immigration office told me that the court has NO authority over their penalty. How does immigration have power over the judgment of the court?” he argued.

The man told The Reporterthat he first moved to the Harar area with a friend almost three years ago and decided to prolong his stay.The unnamed friend went back to the US when his wife had a child. After that, his is immigration application was neglected and denied remaining in the country.

He said that he went to immigration office when he heard there would be a new process of forgiveness with the office, and he alleges that he was told that it was only for Ethiopian natives and his passport was confiscated, and was thrown in jail with no due process.

The Reporter reached out to the US Embassy in Addis Ababa and the local Immigration Office and because he was unable to authorize The Reporter to be provided with his personal information as of press time, as it is required by the embassy to discuss matters of personal nature, The Reporter was not able to verify the information.

“Dr. Abiy Ahmed, please extend this peace advocacy to foreign citizens stripped of their passport and kept in jail in Ethiopia without any due process and threatened by the Immigration office at Addis Ababa Addis Ababa,” he tweeted to the Prime Minister.