Well, i think I will make sure that before he is granted an asylum, he should be investigated any crimes he committed by bombing civilians...why he didn't turn his gun against TPLF? why did he take their order and conducted sorties to bomb civilians?
quote="Bekeken"]Ethiopia loses her last MiG-21 pilot to exile
Ethiomedia | April 13, 2007
SEATTLE, Washington – Lt. Yonas Belay, Ethiopia’s last remaining MiG-21 pilot who had a staggering 128 reconnaissance missions into enemy territory in the 1998-2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea War, recently sought a political asylum in Canada.
Trained in Moscow in the mid-80s as MiG-21 and MiG-23 pilot, Lt. Yonas ended for good a life that had been caught between flying as a fighter pilot in times of war and languishing as a political prisoner in times of peace.
He fought for his country against Eritrea but shortly after he was behind bars because - his political tormentors said - he flew low over a city while test-flying a serviced jet.
He joined the Ethiopian Air Force in 1985, and was a close friend of the late Major Daniel Beyene, a squadron commander of the Air Force Fighter Pilot Training School who was killed in November 2006 under mysterious circumstances.
When TPLF rebels, who, under the command of Meles Zenawi fought for Eritrean independence on the one hand and toppled the Derg on the other, Lt Yonas was one of the highly qualified pilots who were fired instantly as part of a nationwide measure that virtually destroyed the foundations of the Ethiopian defense forces.
The clouds of war that began to gather following the mid-90s, however, forced the then TPLF leadership into seeking the help of the Russia-trained pilots to man the several MiG fighter jets that had been grounded for several years on the premises of Debre Zeit Air Force, 50 km south of Addis Ababa.
Eritrea invaded Ethiopia in May 1998, and two years layter Lt. Yonas had carried out 128 sorties by flying over the airspace of the country, one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world.
"It was the high-level performance of the Air Force and its qualified pilots like Lt Yonas Belay that contributed to Ethiopia thrashing Eritrea during the major offensives at Badme and later toward the end of the 2000," the source.
When the war ended the government once again resorted to its old ways of politically tormenting those pilots who were considered sympathizers of the opposition party, or were generally seen outside the favored ruling party of Mr. Zenawi.
At one time, Yonas was jailed for six months because his bosses said he flew a jet that he was test-flying too low over the city of Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigrai.
"When freed, senior pilots like Yonas are relegated to training trusted recruits of the ruling party," the source said, who would later "be promoted and trained overseas to fly sophisticated machines like the SU-27 jets. The political repression and isolation was too much that most were forced to seek asylum in several countries around the globe."
Since the coming to power of Meles, Ethiopia's Air Force has declined considerably that the country has - at present - no single pilot to fly MiG-21, a machine still widely used around the world as a fitting machine for spying on enemy positions.
Though Ethiopian pilots have defected on numerous occasions, the major blow to the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi came in June 2005 when eight Ethiopians who were being trained as SU-27 fighter pilots in Minsk, Belarus, sought political asylum in protest to government killings of unarmed protesters in June 2005 in Addis Ababa.
The MiG-21's advantages in terms of manoeuvrability, easy maintenance and low costs continue to make it the fighter plane of choice for air forces around the world, says the online Frontline. "There are more than 7,000 MiG-21s currently operational around the world. Chinese Air Force itself has more than 700 MiG-21s."[/quote]