Translate

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Merera Gudina, Ethiopia opposition leader, freed - BBC News






Ethio
Image captionHuge crowds welcomed Mr Merera home


Jailed Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina has been freed after more than a year in detention.
The leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress was released on Wednesday morning and allowed to go home, where he was welcomed by thousands of people.
He has been in prison since December 2016 and was facing charges, including association with terrorist groups.
The Ethiopian government announced on Monday that it would drop charges against more than 500 suspects.
Human rights groups have long accused Ethiopia of refusing to allow opposition groups to operate freely.
The government has denied holding any political prisoners but says the releases will foster national debate and "widen the political sphere".
Those being freed will first undergo two days of "rehabilitation training", the government says.
At the beginning of January, Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn announced the government would close Maekelawi - a detention facility in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly used as a torture chamber.

Why was Mr Merera arrested?

Mr Merera was arrested in November 2016 at the airport in the capital, Addis Ababa, after he flew in from Brussels.
He had violated Ethiopia's state of emergency by having contact with "terrorist" and "anti-peace" groups, state-linked media reported at the time.
That month, Mr Merera had criticised the state of emergency in an address to the European parliament.
The government imposed it in October 2016 to end an unprecedented wave of protests against its 25-year rule.


Map of protests and violence in Ethiopia in 2016


More than 11,000 people were arrested, mostly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which were at the forefront of anti-government protests.
Many in the two regions complain of political and economic marginalisation.

Who else will be freed?

It is still not clear which other politicians will be released.
Ethiopia says it will not free anyone convicted of using force to overthrow the government, destroying infrastructure, murder or causing physical disability.
However, it says it will pardon some of those convicted under the anti-terrorism law.
Critics and human rights groups have accused the government in the past of labelling its opponents, and some journalists, as terrorists.
Rights group Amnesty International says the release of Mr Merera and other prisoners should not be the last.
"Hundreds of prisoners of conscience continue to languish in jail, accused or prosecuted for legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression or simply for standing up for human rights," Amnesty's Netsanet Belay said.


Presentational grey line


Five more high-profile Ethiopian prisoners:

Bekele Gerbadeputy chairman of the OFC - arrested together with Dejene Fita Geleta, secretary-general of OFC, and 20 others in connection with the 2015 Oromo protests that resulted in the death of hundreds of protesters.
Andargachew Tsegeleader of Ginbot 7 (designated a terrorist group by Ethiopia) - arrested in 2014 while on transit in Yemen and taken to Ethiopia, where he faces the death penalty after being convicted in absentia. A British national, human rights groups have been pushing for his release.
Andualem Aragievice-president of the Unity for Democracy and Justice party - imprisoned since 2011, and now serving a life sentence on terrorism charges.
Eskinder Negajournalist and blogger - imprisoned since 2011 after criticising the use of anti-terror laws to silence the press. He was subsequently sentenced to 18 years in jail.
Woubshet Taye, journalist and editor - imprisoned since 2011 and sentenced the next year to 14 years in prison for terror-related offences.

Eritrea











Ethio
Image captionHuge crowds welcomed Mr Merera home




Jailed Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina has been freed after more than a year in detention.
The leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress was released on Wednesday morning and allowed to go home, where he was welcomed by thousands of people.
He has been in prison since December 2016 and was facing charges, including association with terrorist groups.
The Ethiopian government announced on Monday that it would drop charges against more than 500 suspects.
Human rights groups have long accused Ethiopia of refusing to allow opposition groups to operate freely.
The government has denied holding any political prisoners but says the releases will foster national debate and "widen the political sphere".
Those being freed will first undergo two days of "rehabilitation training", the government says.
At the beginning of January, Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn announced the government would close Maekelawi - a detention facility in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly used as a torture chamber.

Why was Mr Merera arrested?

Mr Merera was arrested in November 2016 at the airport in the capital, Addis Ababa, after he flew in from Brussels.
He had violated Ethiopia's state of emergency by having contact with "terrorist" and "anti-peace" groups, state-linked media reported at the time.
That month, Mr Merera had criticised the state of emergency in an address to the European parliament.
The government imposed it in October 2016 to end an unprecedented wave of protests against its 25-year rule.






Map of protests and violence in Ethiopia in 2016




More than 11,000 people were arrested, mostly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which were at the forefront of anti-government protests.
Many in the two regions complain of political and economic marginalisation.

Who else will be freed?

It is still not clear which other politicians will be released.
Ethiopia says it will not free anyone convicted of using force to overthrow the government, destroying infrastructure, murder or causing physical disability.
However, it says it will pardon some of those convicted under the anti-terrorism law.
Critics and human rights groups have accused the government in the past of labelling its opponents, and some journalists, as terrorists.
Rights group Amnesty International says the release of Mr Merera and other prisoners should not be the last.
"Hundreds of prisoners of conscience continue to languish in jail, accused or prosecuted for legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression or simply for standing up for human rights," Amnesty's Netsanet Belay said.






Presentational grey line




Five more high-profile Ethiopian prisoners:

Bekele Gerbadeputy chairman of the OFC - arrested together with Dejene Fita Geleta, secretary-general of OFC, and 20 others in connection with the 2015 Oromo protests that resulted in the death of hundreds of protesters.
Andargachew Tsegeleader of Ginbot 7 (designated a terrorist group by Ethiopia) - arrested in 2014 while on transit in Yemen and taken to Ethiopia, where he faces the death penalty after being convicted in absentia. A British national, human rights groups have been pushing for his release.
Andualem Aragievice-president of the Unity for Democracy and Justice party - imprisoned since 2011, and now serving a life sentence on terrorism charges.
Eskinder Negajournalist and blogger - imprisoned since 2011 after criticising the use of anti-terror laws to silence the press. He was subsequently sentenced to 18 years in jail.
Woubshet Taye, journalist and editor - imprisoned since 2011 and sentenced the next year to 14 years in prison for terror-related offences.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ethiopian dissidents jailed for singing in court


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | AFP | An Ethiopian court has sentenced prominent dissident Bekele Gerba and three other opposition figures to six months in jail for singing a protest song in court, a defence lawyer told AFP on Friday.
The four, all members of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), have been in pre-trial custody since their arrest in late 2015 when a wave of anti-government protests broke out.
Bekele, the deputy OFC chairman, and the three other party officials broke into song on Thursday after the judges ruled against his request to summon Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and other high-ranking government officials as defence witnesses, their attorney Ameha Mekonnen said.
“They were furious, they were saying things that really undermined the judiciary,” Ameha said.
“After they made many complaints and … then they continued to sing their songs.”
Three other prisoners in the courtroom for an unrelated case were also sentenced to three months in jail for clapping to the song, which criticised government land seizures.
Though the OFC officials have been imprisoned for more than two years, that jail time won’t count for the six month term for contempt of court, Ameha said.
Bekele has become a cause celebre for protesters from the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromos, who started rallying more than two years ago over government policies they feared would deprive them of their land.
The protests left hundreds dead and prompted parliament to declare a 10-month state of emergency in 2016.
Originally charged under the country’s terrorism law, the court last July downgraded Bekele’s charges to “provocation” under Ethiopia’s criminal code.
Speculation that Bekele would be released began earlier this month after Hailemariam told reporters that the government would free some jailed politicians “in order to improve the national consensus and widen the democratic platform.”
But the prime minister provided no details, and none of the many politicians jailed in Ethiopia have been freed since the announcement.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Ethiopia Open the prison doors the system that put them to jail is intact




Ethiopia to close notorious prison and free all political prisoners

The Ethiopian government announced it would close the Maekelawi detention facility in Addis Ababa, which has been described as "one of the country's most notorious police stations". and free all political prisoners.The system that put them in jail in the first place still intact notable "The terrorist law" that shut down freedom of speech. And the responsible for notorious acts are still running free. This just facade for public relation to the protesting Ethiopian and the increasing critic international community.

Amnesty International says Ethiopia has engaged in a "crackdown on the political opposition [that] saw mass arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association".

"Desalegn said the Mae’kelawi prison would be converted into a museum, and added that a new center has been established to replace Ma’ekelawi based on the national parliament’s guidelines on human rights and international standards.The Prime Minister said charges will be dropped for all “political prisoners” who are currently under prosecution and pardons will be issued to all who have already been convicted and are serving their sentences in order to create the space for a national dialogue and national consensus."