The case of the Ethiopian heart surgeon – Dr Fikru Maru (by Ato Aschalew)



Abbay Media News

It is really sad to see one of the top Ethiopian heart surgeon (cardiologist) who established Ethiopia’s first specialist heart hospital is still in prison.

Dr. Fikru Maru has been one of the top heart surgeon (cardiologist) in Sweden for 40 years. As a young man, he lost his two brothers, who had been assassinated by the ruling socialist junta (Derg) and then he fled the country when his name was added to the government’s hit list at the time. 

After he moved to Sweden in 1975, he began a new life as a medical student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and manage to become one of the top experts in coronary angiograms and pacemaker surgeries.

He developed a reputation among his peers for his prolific surgery skills and was often called on to perform both types of procedures. In the late 1990s, Dr. Fikru also took a job as chief physician of the heart clinic at Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm. There, and later at Saint Göran Hospital, he made several medical breakthroughs and achieved prominence in Sweden as one of the country’s top cardiologists.

In a country where the corrupts betray and rob their own people into destitute, Dr. Fikru left his comfort and everything he had to help and establish a Cardiac (Heart) Hospital in Addis Ababa.

Finally, he managed to establish it in 2006 with his colleagues and became the CEO of the hospital in Ethiopia. His aim was to bring advanced cardiac procedures to Ethiopia, where they were sorely lacking.

His nightmare in Ethiopia however, began in 2010, when he was arrested while trying to bring essential cardiac equipment, needed for the new heart hospital, through Addis Ababa’s airport. A year later, the charges were dropped, but in 2013 he was re-arrested as on same charges to the previous one.

With delay after delay after delay of his court hearings, and after three years in prison, he was convicted and given a 4-year 8-month jail sentence in one of Ethiopia’s prisons. Then, after four years in prison, in May 2017, he was cleared of all prior charges!

But, instead of releasing him from prison, the government has brought new charges against Dr. Fikru, accusing him, along with 37 other prisoners, of being involved in a prison fire and revolt, even though he was hospitalized when the incident happened.
It is not acceptable to detain a man who spent his later years bringing his professional skills to his own native land.