Ethiopian journalists, political activists and human rights activists arrested, denied due process

(A4O, April 1, 2018)– Advocacy for Oromia is gravely concerned that dozens of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures have been arrested and are being held in inhuman condition at Police Station.

On 25 March 2018, Ethiopian security forces arrested journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, Zone9 bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, blogger Zelalem Workaggnhu and political activists Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla.

According to reports, the arrests were made while the defenders were attending a private meeting at the home of journalist Temesgen Desalegn in Addis Ababa. The private gathering was held in recognition of the recent release of thousands of political prisoners amidst ongoing and widespread protests against political marginalisation and land grabbing in the Oromia and Amhara regions which began in late 2015. The eleven who have previously been jailed for their work as journalists or human rights activists are currently being held at Gotera-Pepsi Police Station in Addis Ababa.

Among those arrested Temesghen was taken from the prison to Zewditu hospital “due to severe back pain he developed during his jail time in recent past.”

Nega, who is a prominent political journalist, had previously spent nearly seven years behind bars on terrorism charges. He was released from prison several weeks ago, on February 14, only to be re-arrested this week.

The arrests follow the declaration of a national State of Emergency on 16 February for a period of six months. The State of Emergency imposes a blanket ban on all protests, the dissemination of any publication deemed to “incite and sow discord” including those who criticise the State of Emergency and allows for warrantless arrest.

Advocacy for Oromia asks for emails and letters urging Ethiopian authorities to secure Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Desalegn, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Zelalem Workaggnhu, Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla immediate, unconditional release and, pending their release, ensure that their cases proceed in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and free expression; to ensure their well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and family and to bring an end to the suffering.

For PDF format:  Ethiopian journalists, political activists and human rights activists arrested, denied due process

Advocacy for Oromia

The following can be the sample of your letter: 

Subject: Release journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
P.O. Box 393
Addis Ababa
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

cc: Federal Attorney General of Ethiopia, President of Oromia Regional State, Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, United States Ambassador to Ethiopia, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Advocacy for Oromia

Your Excellency:

I write to to express grave concern that dozens of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures have been arrested and are being held in inhuman condition at Police Station.

On 25 March 2018, Ethiopian security forces arrested journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, Zone9 bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, blogger Zelalem Workaggnhu and political activists Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla. The eleven who have previously been jailed for their work as journalists or human rights activists are currently being held at Gotera-Pepsi Police Station in Addis Ababa.

I further understand from Advocacy for Oromia that, on March 25, 2018, 11 journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures were arrested while attending a private meeting at the home of journalist Temesgen Desalegn in Addis Ababa. The private gathering was held in recognition of the recent release of thousands of political prisoners amidst ongoing and widespread protests against political marginalisation and land grabbing in the Oromia and Amhara regions which began in late 2015.

I welcome any additional information that may explain these events or clarify my understandings. Absent this, the facts as described suggest that dozens of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures were arrested as a result of nonviolent expressive activity, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Ethiopia is party. This raises not only serious concerns for Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Desalegn, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Zelalem Workaggnhu, Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla’s well-being, but for the ability of journalists, human rights activists and prominent opposition figures generally in Ethiopia to exercise their right to free expression.

I therefore respectfully urge you to investigate the situation and to secure Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Desalegn, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Zelalem Workaggnhu, Andualem Arage, Addisu Getinet, Yidnekachewu Addis, Sintayehu Chekol, Tefera Tesfaye and Woynshet Molla’s immediate, unconditional release and, pending their release, ensure that their cases proceed in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and free expression; and to ensure their well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and family.

I appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

(Here-sign)

(Here -Your Name)

cc: The Honorable Getachew Ambaye

Attorney General, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Email:

cc: The Honorable Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Email:

cc: Advocacy for Oromia

Email:info@advocacy4oromia.org

The Honorable Abiy Ahmed

Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Email:

cc: Ambassador Kassa Tekleberhan Gebrehiwot

Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the United States of America
Email:

cc: The Honorable Lemma Megersa

President of Oromia Regional State
Email:

cc: The Honorable Michael Raynor

United States Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Email:
Advertisements

About advocacy4oromia

The aim of Advocacy for Oromia-A4O is to advocate for the people’s causes to bring about beneficial outcomes in which the people able to resolve to their issues and concerns to control over their lives. Advocacy for Oromia may provide information and advice in order to assist people to take action to resolve their own concerns. It is engaged in promoting and advancing causes of disadvantaged people to ensure that their voice is heard and responded to. The organisation also committed to assist the integration of people with refugee background in the Australian society through the provision of culturally-sensitive services.

Posted on April 1, 2018, in News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s