An Alexandria man was sentenced Friday to 37 months in federal prison in connection with statements he made about his role in the “Red Terror,” a campaign of violence 40 years ago in Ethi­o­pia, officials said.

Mergia Negussie Habteyes, 58, hid a background as a human rights abuser and “lied his way” into the United States, said a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria.

According to court documents, the prosecutor’s office said, the man, referred to as Negussie, tortured detainees on political grounds in a makeshift prison in Ethi­o­pia in 1977 and 1978.

They said it was part of a violent campaign against members and supporters of opposition groups.

Negussie, who obtained U.S. citizenship in 2008, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.