by Mengistu Assefa
Bekele Gerba gave an interview to Voice of America Afaan Oromoo service about his experiences in Ethiopian prison. Mr Gerba touched on his unwavering philosophy and commitment to peaceful civil resistance which he believes has brought about significant changes in Ethiopian political arena. He also elaborated his hope in the future Ethiopian politics, mentioning his party’s (Oromo Federalist Congress, a party of which he deputy chairman) progress of continuing struggle for freedom, peace and prosperity of Ethiopia.
Asked about his view on philosophy of standing at odds with the normalized brutality, “There is nothing fulfilling as standing for freedom even in the worst of times“.
He narrated several politically motivated injustices done to him and his compatriots ranging from defaming, insult, beating and tortures to death. One of the stories he has spoken about amounts to crime against humanity. A story of a young man whose both legs are amputated after he had sustained a terminal injury to his one leg.
He was beaten and tortured, as a result of which one of his legs was deemed to be of no use and hence has to be amputated. He was admitted to a health facility for surgery and for an unknown reason he woke up from the anesthesia devoid of his healthy leg as it was amputated. He was later admitted for surgical removal of his maimed leg and he became without legs.
Mr Gerba didn’t specify the name of the prisoner or the health facility where the procedure was done.
What makes it inhumane again is that he wasn’t even fortunate to be benefited from the government’s amnesty but rather sentenced to life in prison.
You can listen to the full interview here