Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Arrives in the U.S.

Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa receives his silver medal for the men's marathon in the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 21. Feyisa Lilesa has arrived in the US. (Getty Images)


The Ethiopian Olympic medallist who publicly protested against the country’s government has arrived in the United States, where he reportedly hopes to claim asylum.

Feyisa Lilesa, who won the silver medal in the men’s marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympics, crossed his arms over his head as he finished the race. The gesture has become common among protesters in Oromia, a region of Ethiopia where hundreds of Oromo activists have been killed in recent months during clashes with security forces.

Lilesa repeated the gesture at a later press conference and during his medal ceremony, adding that he would likely be killed or imprisoned if he returned to the Horn of Africa country. Ethiopia’s information minister Getachew Reda told the BBC at the time that Lilesa would have nothing to fear if he returned home.

Feyisa Lilesa made the gesture as he crossed the line at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 21st. (Getty Images)

The runner has now reportedly arrived in the U.S. after previously stating that he would seek asylum in the country, the BBC reported on Friday. A crowdfunding campaign set up to fund Lilesa’s legal fees and support his family in Ethiopia has raised more than $160,000 in under three weeks after it was set up on August 21.

Read more at Newsweek.com »

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