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Oromo Celebrates Thanksgiving in Victoria

(A4O, October 3, 2017)– Members of Oromo community have celebrated the Irreechaa festival colourfully on 1st October 2017 in Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick in Victoria, Australia.

The ceremony commences first by offering thanks and greeneries to Waaqa, followed by blessing all creatures of Waaqa to be at peace with each other.

As the festival headmaster Danye Defersha points the formal celebration of Irreecha starts with Abba Malka’s blessings. They bless the Oromo and the country as a whole for more health, wealth freedom and above all for peace, love, harmony and unity.

“We wish our holiday to bring prosperity and happiness for all of us,” Danye added.

According to the Abdeta Homa, chairperson of the committee, the festival was designed to give admiration and honour to Waaqa’s wisdom who gave them a perfect bliss of land with abundant natural resources.

“It also provides a better understanding of Oromo culture, history and humanity, to pave the way for promotion of the Oromo culture, history, lifestyle and practice,” Abdeta Homa added.

It’s a day all Oromians celebrate and cherish due to our ties to our root: Oromo Identity and country. It’s a time for reflection, celebration and a good connection with our best heritage.

“The beauty and joy of the Oromo people in full force for the Irreecha celebration in Narrm (Melbourne),” Soreti Kadir wrote on her Facebook. “Thankful that under the leadership of our people, the celebrations proceeded peacefully at Hora Arsadi in Bishoftu, Oromia, Ethiopia,” she added.

The ceremony honoured the Oromo elders’ blessings and wisdom, and eventually helped to preserve the heritage and strengthen the progress of humanity. It is also committed to the beginning a back to the root project for us as a society.

What is Irreecha Birraa?

The Celebration of Irreechaa Birra is held yearly both to thank Waaqaa for the blessings and mercies received throughout the rainy season and to welcome the new harvesting season.

It is a celebration that repeats once in a year-in birraa and involves special activities or amusements as it has a lot of importance in our lives. It symbolizes the arrival of spring and brighten season with their vibrant green and daisy flowers.

According to Getachew Chameda, Irreecha has been one of the major Oromo events that distinguishes, makes, and marks the identity of an Oromo personality as a member of the nation.

  • It is a social festival that praises Waaqa who helped them come together in peace and embrace the incoming bright-sunny season.
  • It is a social festival that sees off the out-going rainy season, wishing its recurrent appearance in peace, happiness, abundance, fertility, equality, fraternity and a hope for victory against all forms of evils.

At this point in time Irreecha is a transcultural subject for the Oromo people. The revival of Oromummaa spirit is grounded in it, the renaissance of Oromo self-consciousness is in the making through it.

Colours and Irreechaa

People of Oromo have a colourful culture and heritage. The participants donned colourful cultural attire in colours such as black, white, red, green and red. These colours are symbolic for the Oromos. White is a colour used to symbolise peace, said the organisers. “Oromos are peaceful people,” they added.

The Oromos present also danced and sang for the entire duration of the celebration. As is customary, they later shared food that some people had brought with them.

The Oromo Gadaa System has its own flag with three different colors. The colours are Black, Red and White. These all colours have their own representation in Oromo society.

Accordingly, the black colour represents future. In this stage, the part of human life is considered as unknown (black). The red shows those who are very active life in different institutions. It is the stage that used as a candle to light for the people.

Finally, the white represents those who have passed through active life in the society and illustrate of no more used as candle and sacrifice, and it is the age of retirement.

The event was held on one of the side banks of the Wilson Botanic Park’s lake consisting trees providing shade.

Intangible Heritages

Irreechaa is one of the intangible heritages of the Oromo people. The Irreechaa celebration is an exciting festival for anyone.

Moreover, it plays a crucial role in unifying the Oromo people. “The Oromos celebrate the Irreechaa irrespective of their religious backgrounds. Whether they are followers of Waaqeffannaa, Christian or Muslims, they participate in the same festival,” said one participant.

Nothing brings people together like Irreechaa festival does. It plays a pivotal role in nation-building; bringing people from every religious, economic and social background together.

“Oromo understands that human beings do not invent or create something unless it is required,” Facebook message.

Irreechaa is one of the Gadaa elements and should be treasured as part and parcel of the unsung democracy. Irreecha is a manifestation of an ancient African consciousness about the universe, back in millenniums.

However, there is no written history to explain when Irreechaa celebrations started.  But in ancient Cushitic domain, Irreechaa festival was celebrated mostly in religious and cultural context.

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Oromo festival turns into anti-government protest

(Advocacy4Oromia, 2 October 2017) Millions of Oromo people attend the “Irreecha” festival also known as ‘Oromo Thanksgiving’ in Bishoftu, Oromia on October 1, 2017.

This year’s Irreecha festival brought peaceful but powerful protest as the Oromo people marked the anniversary of last year’s massacre at Bishoftu.

More than 1.5 million people were expected to attend the annual thanksgiving celebration.

Irrecha is an Oromo thanks giving festival which is celebrated twice a year; Irreecha Malka and Irreecha Tulluu.

Millions of people, Oromo Abba Gada’s, and tourists from different countries have attended the event.

BUSHOFTU, Oromia

An Oromian festival on Sunday turned into a massive anti-government protest for the second year in a row.

Over a million people gathered at Hora Harsede, a meeting place for Irreecha celebration in the central town of Bushoftu, 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Irreecha, a Thanksgiving holiday, is celebrated by Ethiopia’s largest nation, Oromo people of Oromia.

The celebration turned into a protest after the crowd took over the dais reserved for community elders and began chanting anti-government slogans.

Last year, more than 50 people were killed in a stampede caused by tear gas and bullets fired by security forces to disperse anti-government demonstrators during the celebration. The incident led to an imposition of martial law, which lasted for 10 months.

Last week, the government put a ban on the presence of army and armed forces at the site of the celebration.

“The agreement to keep the army and armed police at bay paid off this time around because it prevented confrontations and possible violence,” Lulu Alemu, Oromia Deputy Communications Office head, told Anadolu Agency.

The Oromo people began a protest two years ago in opposition to a now annulled bill to expand the capital Addis Ababa city, which people perceived would result in forced evictions of farmers and expropriation of land.

The Oromo and Amhara people, two of the largest ethnic groups in Ethiopia have been demanding political and economic freedoms.

Magarsa Dabi, a 33-year-old demonstrator, told Anadolu Agency that he went out to protest “the divisive and oppressive” policies of the regime.

“It is sad that the popular demands for political and economic freedom as well as social justice have been left unanswered,” he lamented.

Commemorating Irreechaa Massacre and Celebrating the 2017 Irreechaa Festival

(Melbourne, Australia, 22 September 2017)- Oromo didn’t expect the loss of more than six hundred people in one day when Celebrating Irreechaa Festival in Bishoftu Oromia on 02 October 2016 before shot at by military forces on the ground while helicopters fired teargas from the air.

Members of Oromo Community in Melbourne Australia are going to hold the commemorative ceremony at Federation Square to commemorate and remember Irreechaa Massacre.

Place: Federation Square, Corner Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000.

When: 30th of September 2017

Time: 6:00 PM

We are also delighted to invite you to be a part of the Oromo Thanksgiving Day celebration in Melbourne. This special event that adds more wealth to the multicultural traits of Melbourne will be held at Wilson Botanical Park.

Address: 668 Princes Highway, Berwick, VIC 3806.

Date: October 1, 2017

Time: 1:00PM – 5:00PM

 About Irreechaa Massacre

On October 2, 2016, the sacred grounds of Harsadi were littered with dead bodies where thousands of fellow Oromo were massacred by Ethiopia’s security force on the Irreechaa celebration. The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a cultural festival.

Reports show over 670 deaths from shooting and from being trampled. Many deaths remain unexplained. The incident is shrouded in mystery because of the media blackout which followed. At least some killings followed the event rather than taking place at the time and are believed to have been deliberately orchestrated by the government. Even now, after the atrocity, there has been no independent investigation and no appraisal of the number and identity of those killed.

For more information: https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/09/19/fuel-fire/security-force-response-2016-irreecha-cultural-festival

Our Appeals

We ask all Oromo institutions to compile evidences, videos, pictures in their possession showing the mayhem the regime’s security force orchestrated during the event and more importantly the details of the victims. We also would like to ask all Oromo and Oromo organisations to produce research papers, short videos, poems, songs, that shall be used to commemorate and celebrate the lives of the victims of Irreechaa Massacre during the upcoming Irreechaa festival around the world.

We owe the victims of the Irreechaa massacre acknowledgement of their deaths and an explanation to the world of how and why they died.

=================

Members of Irreechaa Organising Committee comprised of representatives from the Advocacy for Oromia, Australian Oromo community Association, Oromia Support Group Australia, Southeast Region Melbourne Oromo Community Association Victoria Australia and Waaqeffannaa Association.

For further information contact us at info@advocacy4oromia.org.

For PDF format: Irreechaa-Appeal-Letter

Freemuse calls on Ethiopian authorities to drop charges against Oromo artists

Photo: Seenaa Solomoon in ‘Ramacii Rincice’ video/YouTube

Ethiopian authorities charged seven artists – musicians and dancers – with terrorism in late June 2017 for producing and uploading “inciting” political songs and videos, according to media reports. Freemuse is concerned about the charges and the continued erosion of freedom of expression in Ethiopia, especially of the Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in the country.

Freemuse is also alarmed by the wide latitudes Ethiopian authorities have taken during the recently lifted ten-month-long state of emergency put in place in response to protests stemming from the government’s plan, announced in 2014, to expand capital city Addis Ababa into farm lands in the Oromia region, the country’s largest region and home to the Oromo people.

“What is happening in Ethiopia is not a spin off from the recent protests and uprising, but rather is about a government clampdown on the artistic community in general and of Oromo artists in particular. We call on national authorities to drop the charges on the seven artists and protect all peoples’ right to freedom of expression, including expressions critical of governments,” Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said.

The seven artists – Seenaa Solomon, Elias Kiflu, Gemechis Abera, Oliyad Bekele, Ifa Gemechu, Tamiru Keneni and Moebul Misganu – were arrested in December 2016 and held in Maekelawi Prison, which Global Voices reports is notorious for its torture practices. Misganu had been arrested before in 2014 in connection to student protests in Oromia and was released in 2016.

More recently, the BBC reported that Ethiopian police stopped the formal launch of singer Tewodros Kassahun’s, who performs as Teddy Afro, latest album without any official reason, preventing event organisers from entering the venue and demanding a permit. His new album, released in May, has become Ethiopia’s fastest selling album and topped Billboard’s world album chart.

Additionally, his Ethiopian New Year’s Eve concert scheduled for 11 September this year was cancelled for the third consecutive year, according to non-profit Music in Africa Foundation.

Teddy Afro is no stranger to controversy as he first drew negative attention from authorities in 2005 when he released his third album which contained songs critical of the government that became anthems for protest movements.

In 2008, he was imprisoned for a hit-and-run accident in a case that he claims was politically motivated and was released in 2009, after serving 18 months of a two-year sentence.

Freemuse has registered over the years several attacks and forms of harassment on Oromo artists, including the imprisonment, beatings and forced exile of artists, as well as the banning of music and shutdown of studios.

Read more about the state of freedom of expression for Oromo people in Ethiopia here

Source: Freemuse

The Tale of Two Militia: Janjaweed vs Liyu Police

Today, the Liyu Police invaded Miesso district and injured elementary school kids by throwing a hand grenade on them. When Oromia Police responded in defense, the Ethiopian Military appeared to disarm and arrest them. Just like the Janjaweed militia and Sudanese National Force, Liyu Police and the Ethiopian Defense Forces are attacking the innocent Oromo. As we speak, operation is still there and the worst is yet to come.

Since 1956, Sudan has been ravaged by war. In Darfur, the war has led to ethnic cleansing on a massive scale during the peak years of the war, 2003–2005, in which more than 300,000 Darfuri civilians have been killed and and approximately 3 000 000 people were forcibly exiled, an event in which both the government and the local militia conspired the killings.

The Sudanese government provided incentives in the form of payment and access to loot, as well as promises of access to land and administrative power. Sudanese officials also identified key tribal leaders from the northern Riziegat to coordinate the recruitment: Sheikh Musa Hilal, a leader of the Um Jalul clan of the Mahamid, became the lynchpin for recruitment of militias in northern Darfur. Since June 2003, he has become emblematic of the role of the militia forces in the attacks on civilians and the impunity conferred upon them by the Sudanese government.

The worst atrocities are committed by the Um Jalul of Musa Hilal because historically they have tensions with the Fur and Zaghawa. They’re all camel herders, not cattle herders, and they have no respect for farmers, they have a superiority complex and they need their camels. When the war started, the Sudanese government asked Musa Hilal to be the leader of the Janjaweed.

In 2007, an version of Jajaweed militia was established in Ethiopia’s Ogaden Region. It was created and led by Abdi Mohammed Omar (“Abdi Illey”), the current president of Somali Regional State, who was then the regional security chief, with direct order from Meles Zenawi. At first, many thought Liyu Police was created to counter the growing ONLF fighters insurgency mostly after the events of April 2007, in which the rebel groups attached the Chinese Oil company operating in Ogaden.

For the time both Meles and Abdi Illey succeeded in abating ONLF’s further advance, but the mission of Liyu Police didn’t stopped there. After Meles died in 2012, Abdi Illey had been organizing the most aggressive force by recruiting thousands of youth from his loyal clan. Now, there are forty five thousand strong paramilitary forces operating in Ogaden committing heinous crime against innocent civilians. The Liyu police have frequently been implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and violence against people in the Somali region, as well as in retaliatory attacks against local communities, according human right watch report.

Since December 2016, credible reports have emerged of Liyu police incursions into the neighboring Oromia region covering 24 districts and more than 200 localities bordering Somali – Oromia Region. This aggressive force have been conducting extrajudicial killings, looting properties and displacing thousands and tens of thousands of innocent Oromo from their ancestral land.

Reports have been emerging that the Ethiopian defense forces deployed around the border are helping Liyu Police by disarming local Oromo militias and Oromia Police. Evidences found from eyewitnesses and from killed military Identity Card indicated that men from defense forces have engaged in the random attacks and TPLF military Generals are supervising the operations of Liyu Police. With such operations more 1,500 innocent Oromo have lost their lives, thousands forcely displaced and property have been looted.

Today, the Liyu Police invaded Miesso district and injured elementary school kids by throwing a hand grenade on them. When Oromia Police responded in defense, the Ethiopian Military appeared to disarm and arrest them. Just like the Janjaweed militia and Sudanese National Force, Liyu Police and the Ethiopian Defense Forces are attacking the innocent Oromo. As we speak, operation is still there and the worst is yet to come.

 By Lammii Beenyaa

Chaltu Takele: Oromo prisoner of conscience

(Advocacy4Oromia, 3 Sept 2017) Chaltu Takele, a second year sociology student in Addis Ababa University was arrested in May 2008. She was arrested suspected of being member of OLF.

After several months of incarceration at the notorious Federal Police Commission Crime and Forensic Investigation Center or Maekelawi, she was sentenced and transferred to Kaliti. She was convicted to 12 years of imprisonment and spent Eight years and one month in Kaliti.

While she was in Kaliti she graduated in Management by following her education in distance program from private College. Studying in prison is a rare case for most Oromo prisoners. Chaltu struggled to get permission to study. She fought hard to convince Kaliti prison officials and finally won the chance to study.

After Eight years and one months of harassment in Maekelawi and Kaliti, she was released in 2016. But, she remained under constant security surveillance. Her ambitions were to start her peaceful life by getting job in Finfine or elsewhere in Oromiya. She wanted to help her family.

In March 2017, after months of her release from prison, we heard the news that Chaltu was abducted in Finfinne and taken to Maekelawi alongside with two of her friends. She is still in Maelawi.

Chaltu’s history is typical example of Oromo women scarification for freedom.

My flag

   By Dahabe Abdella

In the distance I see her, as she stands and waves,
As I sit and watch her, at the dawn of day.
As the sun arises, from our eastern forest,
I see Old Glory, she is battered and worn.
Her colors are faded, and her edges are frayed,
A symbol of our Nation, in its current stage.
I shed a tear, for my dear old friend,
As I remember what she’s seen, and the places she’s been.

She was there in the beginning, as she led in the fight,
As brave men and women fought, to defend what was right.
Gullallee, Anoolee, and for Calaqoo she flew,
Over blood soaked grounds, as our freedoms grew.
She made the journey, unto foreign lands,
Through Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya and Sudan.
Against oppression, tyranny, and terror by night,
She stood for freedom, as a beacon of light.

But now she’s here, in our present age,
As I wrapped her on my head, all tattered and frayed.
I can’t understand it, where we are,
From where we’ve been, it seems so far.
She’s been spit upon, trampled, burned and torn,
Dishonored, discarded, at home or abroad.
A House of cards, is where our liberties lie,
While a nation stands silent, as our freedoms slip by.
Where integrity, honesty and values are lost,
Where marriage is forsaken, the unborn pay the cost.

The word of God is silent, under Odaa tree,
Even from our schools, it is silent still.
The Lord of heaven, of earth, and of man,
Says “return to Me, and I’ll heal and liberate your land.”
We must go to Him, on bended knee,
Give all unto Him, and He’ll give unto thee.

As I watched my dear friend, as she starts to fly,
I hear her plea, I hear her cry.
As she sends out a call, across the land,
“To do what’s right, make a stand!”
“Liberty, Justice and Freedom” she sounds,
“Do not compromise, or cross the bounds.”
“We must stand together, though some may fall,
For freedom we’ll lose, if we don’t stand at all.”
“To laugh, to play, to worship and live,
How much is freedom worth, how much will you give?”
“Like those before us, in wars fought and won,
Our fathers, brothers, mothers, and sisters.”
“Who fought for freedom, they gave it all,
That our country may stand, and never, fall.”

As the sun descends, beyond the eastern view,
And taps is played, in a lonesome tune.
Old Glory is lowered, in the last bit of light,
For on this day, was her last flight.
She gave all she could, she gave all her might,
She fought to the last, she fought the good fight.
For in the breaking, of tomorrow’s new dawn,
New hope shall arise, as Glory lives on.
She shall arise again, bright shining and new,
As she continues the call, to me, and to you.
From sea to sea, and mountains of green,
Oromia Our land, our home, we must defend and fight.

How much will you give, as God’s own Son or daughter,
To bring us back to Him, so we can live on.
Will you join with us, hand in hand,
In prayer and fasting, to heal and liberate our land?
Though our country’s not free, this much is sure,
But it’s still our country, and it’s worth fighting for.

Oromia Shall be free!!!
#MyFlag #MyIdentity #OromoFlag #Oromia

 

Commemorating the 2016 Irreechaa Massacre and Celebrating the 2017 Irreechaa Festival

(Melbourne, Australia, 17 August 2017)- Oromo didn’t expect the loss of more than six hundred people in one day when Celebrating Irreechaa Festival in Bishoftu Oromia on 02 October 2016 before shot at by military forces on the ground while helicopters fired teargas from the air.

Members of Oromo Community in Melbourne Australia are going to hold the commemorative ceremony at Federation Square to commemorate and remember Irreechaa Massacre.

Place: Federation Square, Corner Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000.

When: 30th of September 2017

Time: 6:00 PM

We are also delighted to invite you to be a part of the Oromo Thanksgiving Day celebration in Melbourne. This special event that adds more wealth to the multicultural traits of Melbourne will be held at Wilson Botanical Park.

Address: 668 Princes Highway, Berwick, VIC 3806.

Date: October 1, 2017

Time: 1:00PM – 5:00PM

 About Irreechaa Massacre

On October 2, 2016, the sacred grounds of Harsadi were littered with dead bodies where thousands of fellow Oromo were massacred by Ethiopia’s security force on the Irreechaa celebration. The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a cultural festival.

Reports show over 670 deaths from shooting and from being trampled. Many deaths remain unexplained. The incident is shrouded in mystery because of the media blackout which followed. At least some killings followed the event rather than taking place at the time and are believed to have been deliberately orchestrated by the government. Even now, after the atrocity, there has been no independent investigation and no appraisal of the number and identity of those killed.

Our Appeals

We ask all Oromo institutions to compile evidences, videos, pictures in their possession showing the mayhem the regime’s security force orchestrated during the event and more importantly the details of the victims. We also would like to ask all Oromo and Oromo organisations to produce research papers, short videos, poems, songs, that shall be used to commemorate and celebrate the lives of the victims of Irreechaa Massacre during the upcoming Irreechaa festival around the world.

We owe the victims of the Irreechaa massacre acknowledgement of their deaths and an explanation to the world of how and why they died.

=================

Members of Irreechaa Organising Committee comprised of representatives from the Advocacy for Oromia, Australian Oromo community Association, Oromia Support Group Australia, Southeast Region Melbourne Oromo Community Association Victoria Australia and Waaqeffannaa Association.

For further information contact us at info@advocacy4oromia.org.

For PDF format: Irreechaa-Appeal-Letter

CAHDE statement on the public handcuffing of Dr. Merara Gudina!

(Advocacy4Oromia, 2 August 2017) The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Ethiopia condemns the handcuffing of Professor Merara Gudina on his way in and out of the court today.

A suspect in a criminal trial cannot be handcuffed without a reasonable ground to believe that he or she might be a risk to public safety and the safety of the police.

Absent a reasonable basis for suspicion, public handcuffing of a suspect is a flagrant violation of their dignity and an affront to common humanity.

Professor Merara Gudina is a well known academic, a veteran opposition leader, a high profile political prisoner, and a non-convict suspected of a non-violent crime. There is simply no justification whatsoever to handcuff such a suspect.

CAHDE believes that this is intended to (1) humiliate the defendant, (2) place undue pressure on his defense, and (3) break the spirit of defiance and resistance he has demonstrated so well since the trial began.

It is intended to humiliate him into submission and thereby conceal the dirty linen underneath this shabby spectacle of legality.

CO-DEFENDANTS SAY AYELE BEYENE DIED OF ‘TORTURE AND NEGLECT’ IN PRISON, EXPRESS FEAR OF SIMILAR FATE

By Mahlet Fasil

 (Finfinne, July 26/2017)– The body of Ayele Beyene, who died while in police custody at Qilinto prison, a maximum prison facility on the southern outskirt of Addis Abeba, was buried yesterday in his home town in Gidami, east Wallaga zone of western Ethiopia.

Before he was detained in September 2016, Ayele, 29, was the head of the management department at Nifas Silk Lafto Kifle Ketema Woreda 10 bureau here in the capital Addis Abeba. He was detained along with seven others but was only brought to court in May 2017 after spending nine months in Ma’ekelawi.

Their arrest is part of a widespread government crackdown in the wake of (and post) the yearlong anti-government protests in Oromia and Amhara regional states that saw thousands rounded up and sent to prison.

On May 10 the eight men were formally charged (charge sheet in pdf) with terror related and criminal offenses. Ayele Beyene was listed as the second defendant in the file name under the first defendant Melkamu Kinfu.  Ayele was facing similar charges of terrorism and criminal offenses along with six of the eight men: Bonsa Beyene (his bother), Yimam Mohammed, Lemesa Gizachew, Kumera Tilahun, Meyad Ayana, and Muluna Darge. All the seven were charged under Art. 7/1 of Ethiopia’s infamous Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP 652/2009) as well as Art. 32/1 A and B and Art. 38 of the 2004 Criminal code, while the first defendant Malkamu Kinfu was charged under Art. 4 of the ATP and Art. 32/1 A and B and Art. 38 of the 2004 Criminal code.

All the eight defendants have told the federal court 4th  criminal bench during their first appearance in May that they have been subjected to severe torture that included beatings and solitary confinement in dark rooms during their nine months of detention in Ethiopia’s notorious prison Ma’ekelawi.

After charges were filed, they were transferred to the Qilinto prison, from where the body of Ayele was taken to St. Paul Hospital before he died.

During their court hearing yesterday, the fourth defendant Yimam Mohammed told the judges that Ayele hadn’t had food for ten days prior to his death during which the rest of his co-defendants have reported his situation to the prison authorities at least “three times a day” but they were “neglected”. “I find it hard to say that our friend [Ayele] has died; his life was cut short. Who is responsible for that? If it is the government let us know it before we too die,” said Yimam to a court full of weep.

The first defendant Melkamu on his part told the judges that all defendants were suffering from illnesses related to the abuses they were subjected to in prison. He also said that despite his repeated plea with the prison authorities he was denied access to his medications.  “Ayele was killed and we fear we too will meet his fate.”

The eight defendants were largely accused of having links with Dawud Ibssa, the leader of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and receiving money from and orchestrating a local cell to assist OLF’s attempts to violently overthrow the constitutional order. The particular accusations against Ayele said that he had become a member of a terror cell organized by the first defendant Melkamu in an “unidentified” date and month. He was also accused of passing on government information.

Ayele’s  body was sent to his family and was buried yesterday

Prosecutors have attached six pages of written material obtained from Ayele during interrogations when he was in Ma’ekelawi as well as what they said were e-mail communications from an e-mail address opened for this purpose as evidence against him.

The prison police have not presented information on the cause of death during yesterday’s hearing, but they have notified the court on July 24 of Ayele’s death. The judges have told prison officials to present Ayele’s cause of death and the autopsy result during the next hearing for the remaining seven defendants on August 02. AS

Source: Addis Standard