by Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
The European Union (EU) is disturbed over the arrest of a leading opposition leader by the Ethiopian government. The EU has subsequently urged the regime to make public any charges against Professor Merera Gudina.
‘‘I urge the Ethiopian Government to make public any charges it has brought against Prof. Merera and I will continue to follow his case very closely,’‘ Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Elena Valenciano, said in a statement.
Late last month, Ethiopian security forces arrested the professor who is the chairman of the opposition party ‘Oromo Federalist Congress’ (OFC), shortly after his arrival in the capital Addis Ababa.
I urge the Ethiopian Government to make public any charges it has brought against Prof. Merera and I will continue to follow his case very closely.
Prof. Merera was returning from Brussels where – together with other Ethiopian activists and the Olympian athlete Feyisa Lellisa – he had had a meeting with Members of the European Parliament on 9 November 2016.
EU Parliament concerned over curfew clampdown
The European Parliament adopted an urgency resolution on the violent crackdown on protesters in January 2016, which requested that the Ethiopian authorities stop using anti-terrorism legislation to repress political opponents, dissidents, human rights defenders, other civil society actors and independent journalists.
Since January 2016 the human rights situation in Ethiopia has not improved at all. Human Rights Watch reports that security forces have killed more than 500 people during protests over the course of 2016.
‘‘Moreover the state of emergency has led to further significant restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. I therefore reiterate Parliament’s demands as set out in its resolution.
‘‘The European Parliament is aware of the difficult situation in Ethiopia and stresses the need to continue to support the Ethiopian people,” the statement added.
Arrested for flouting curfew rules
The state-affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate however stated on Thursday that Gudina was arrested because he had flouted the State Of Emergency currently being enforced nationwide.
They quoted the the Secretariat of the Command Post as saying Dudina violated an article of the law which prohibited any communication with banned terrorist organizations and anti-peace groups.
“He is under investigation for violating this article,” the Command Post said.