#OromoProtests here is Bekele Gerba’s statement at the court today. It was reported by journalist Elias Gebru Godana and translated by Girma Gutema
by Obang Metho
In our court session last time, we were forced to put off our formal black suits. We refused to do so because it is our constitutional right to put on any kind of cloth. We worn in black to expresses our grievances & sorrow for the over 50,000 Oromo nationals languishing behind bars & also for the 200-300 peaceful protesters recently killed by the regime.
Other prisoners scavenged over our dumped-out clothes. They then brought some remaining ones & left them in our cells. They didn’t stop there. They took us to dark rooms & locked us in there. They physically abused some of my comrades. They are here now & they can witness what happened.
We haven’t eaten anything since yesterday. We were hand cuffed until this morning. They abused us purely based on their racist ideals. Many Oromo prisoners were singled out for tortures & other physical & psychological abuses.
Institutional racism is the hallmark of the prison house where we are in. They vowed to kill me saying that all the mess they are in now came because of me. We therefore request this court to relocate us from this prison house whose modus operandi is institutionalized racism. If we get back to that Qilinto prison today, we can’t even be sure that we make it back to the next session of this court. Our lives are in real danger. We have been denied of family visits. Even today, in this court compound, other people were prohibited from seeing us. We are not being considered as citizens. Why does the government want to run our cases out of public sight?