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U.S Department of State: On Ethiopia's Charges of Terrorism Against Political Leaders

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Press Statement
John Kirby

Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
April 29, 2016
The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent decision to file terrorism charges against Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) First Vice-Chairman Bekele Gerba and others in the Oromia region who were arrested in late 2015.
Satate Department
We again urge the Ethiopian government to discontinue its reliance on the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation law to prosecute journalists, political party members, and activists, as this practice silences independent voices that enhance, rather than hinder, Ethiopia’s democratic development.
We commend Ethiopian officials for pledging to address legitimate grievances from their citizens and acknowledging that security forces were responsible for some of the violence that took place during the protests in Oromia; however, the government continues to detain an unknown number of people for allegedly taking part in these protests and has not yet held accountable any security forces responsible for alleged abuses. This undermines the trust and confidence needed to produce lasting solutions.
We urge the Ethiopian government to respect due process of those detained by investigating allegations of mistreatment, by publicly presenting the evidence it possesses against them, and by distinguishing between political opposition to the government and the use or incitement of violence. We reaffirm our call on the government to protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of its citizens, including the right to participate in political parties, and we urge the Government to promptly release those imprisoned for exercising these rights.

2 Comments

  1. I second the US State Department call for prevalence of due process in this and all other cases. Before obbo Bekele it was Obbo Eskinder and many others like them. They are all languishing in unkempt and filthy prisons for years in all. This family man is well read just like Obbo Eskinder. He, Obbo Eskinder and possibly many more others do not deserve to be thrown in jail. Please let these people go and provide them with the means to earn a living so they can raise their families. This humble man shows the traits of being a very smart person devoid of any conviction for use of violence to solve political impasse. I got such an impression of him from the interview he gave on NPR. He sounds to be non violent. I call upon our dear elderly Harvard professor who had intervened so many times before during such incidences and prevail upon both sides(the prisoners and the government officials) with your mediation skills bestowed upon you by the Almighty Creator. It is drought time over there!! It is famine time in most parts of that country. The prognosis is bleak and millions’ lives are in danger. I know you like me were heart-broken where we heard in the news that certain Ethiopian ‘tourists’ lost and found’ a luggage holding more than 300,000 US dollars in China. But such bad financial behavior should not create another “political’ famine like the one in 1984-85 where millions perished when the big wig honchos were playing ideological war games. Nobody should be proud of that. The endeavor to save the lives of the famine victims should not be hampered by such unfortunate altercations.

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