Saturday, July 14, 2018

Semayawi Party president Mr. Yeshwas Aseffa will have a discussion forum on current Ethiopian political situation . You are all invited

“We are Like the Dead” Torture and other Human Rights Abuses in Jail Ogaden, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia

Jail Ogden is unthinkable. From the moment you are put there until the moment you are released, you do not know if you are alive or dead. You are tortured and humiliated day and night, you are starved, [and] you can’t sleep because there’s so many people.
—42-year-old Mohamed who spent five years without charge in Jail Ogaden, August 2017
In the heart of the eastern city of Jijiga, just five minutes from the University, lies one of the most notorious detention centers in Ethiopia. Jail Ogaden, officially known as Jijiga Central Prison, is home to thousands of prisoners, who are brutalized and neglected. Many have never been charged or convicted of any crime.

Interview: Years of Untold Suffering at Jail Ogahttps:
In the Somali region of Ethiopia, it seems like everyone knows someone who was locked up in the dreaded Jail Ogaden, but no one wants to speak about the horrors there. Audrey Wabwire speaks to Felix Horne about the new Human Rights Watch report on Jail Ogaden, and about what it takes to restore hope to many who have silently suffered in the Somali region and across Ethiopia.
Former prisoners described a horrific reality of constant abuse and torture, with no access to adequate medical care, family, lawyers, or even, at times, food. Officials stripped naked and beat prisoners and forced them to perform humiliating acts in front of the entire prison population, as punishment and to instill shame and fear. In overcrowded cells, head prisoners, called kabbas, beat and harassed prisoners at night during interrogations, passing notes on to prison leaders who then chose some for further punishment. The purpose of the torture and humiliation was to coerce prisoners to “confess” to membership in the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a banned opposition group.
This report, based on almost 100 interviews, including 70 former prisoners of Jail Ogaden, documents torture and other serious abuses, including rape, long term arbitrary detention, and horrific detention conditions in Jail Ogaden in Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State (Somali Region) between 2011 and early 2018. Interviewees also included government officials and members of Somali Region security.

follow the link for full detail 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ethiopian opposition labels Johannesburg death a government assassination

On Saturday 21 April Gezahegn Gebremeskel was shot down in cold blood in Johannesburg. The Ethiopian community lays responsibility for the death of Gezahegn at the door of the Ethiopian government.
A spokesman for the community said Gezahegn had protested outside a meeting at the Ethiopian embassy of a South Korean delegation the day before. He had been hustled outside and threatened with death.  A day later he was gunned down. The community say this is not the first time such threats have been issued.
Below is an opposition account of what happened.
Gezahegn Gebremeskel
Source: ESAT News (April 23, 2018)
Gezahegn Gebremeskel, known in the community as Gezahegn Nebro, was shot and killed in a cold blooded murder on Saturday, sending shock waves to Ethiopians across the globe.
The news and photos of his dead body quickly spread on social media with condolences pouring in from Ethiopians from all corners of the world.
Nebro was at the Ethiopian Embassy in Johannesburg on Friday, a day before his Gezahegn Gebremeskelassassination, protesting a meeting held by Tigrayans and supporters of the minority ethnic regime in Addis Ababa.
Friends of Nebro told ESAT that staff at the Embassy had threatened to kill Nebro if he does not stop his activism.
The Ethiopian Embassy has been mum on the issue. It has not expressed concern over the killing of its citizen, nor has it denied the allegations.
Nebro escaped an assassination attempt in 2012.
The former airborne with the Ethiopian army was well known in the community and has been instrumental in bringing together the Ethiopian community to stand up against tyranny back in his country.
It was learnt that the assailant shot Nebro at close range and fled the scene.
Community leaders told ESAT that they are hiring independent investigators to find Nebro’s killers and their accomplices.

Hired guns are not unusual in Johannesburg, a city with one of the highest rates of gun violence and murder.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Nigist Yirga / አክቲቪስት ንግስት ይርጋ የእስር ቤት ስቃይ በአኒሜሽን ቪዲዮ

ኢሰመፕ በእስረኞች ላይ የሚደርሰውን የመብት ጥሰት የመሰነድ ፕሮጅክቱን መሰረት አድርጎ የሚከተለውን በአክቲቪስት ንግስት ይርጋን የእስር ቤት ስቃይ በአኒሜሽን ቪዲዮ አዘጋጅቶ አቅርቦላችኋል፡፡ ይመልከቱ! ያጋሩ ! ለወዳጅ ዘመድ ጓደኛ ያሳዩ!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ethiopian and Eritrean Refugees Celebrate New Year eve in Toronto

                                       They paid tribute to the families of political prisoners  

Ethiopian and Eritrean in Toronto, Canada, have gathered to celebrate new year together at Hirut Restaurant, in Toronto on December 31st, 2017. The event is organized by Unity for Human Rights and Democracy (UHRD), a Toronto-based not for profit organization. The program commenced with a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims of political killings in Ethiopia and Eritrea.  

The organizers of the event stated that the program is mainly about celebrating the resilience of refugees to get to Canada passing through several hurdles and their accomplishments in the year 2017. The organizers also stated that creating the platform for the refugees from the two communities to welcoming the new year with new hope and optimism is the second objective of the event. In this regard, the UHRD reported that it was able to provide regular monthly financial assistance to 6 families of political prisoners in Ethiopia during 2017. It expressed its hope with growing support of the community that it intends to increase its support. Unity noted the ever increasing number of political prisoners in Ethiopia. Particularly, following the declaration of state of emergency in Ethiopia in October 2016, more than 25,000 people were arrested, and currently more than 5,000 of these individuals are believed to be held in detention. The families of these people are suffering from the absence of their loved ones and impoverished due to the loss of breadwinners of the family. In light of this, the organizer noted that there is a need to scale up the support to families of political prisoners.  
 Further, the organizers announced that they will endorse new initiative of the Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia (SMNE). This initiative will aim to bring Ethiopians more closer in search of common values and goals. The message of the SMNE Executive Director, Obang Metho, was delivered at the event, and fundraising event for the support of this initiative was held.  
The event featured the performance of Toronto-based Ethiopian artists. They electrified the hall and moved the audience with their excellent performance. The organizers thanked these artists who volunteered their time and talent for free in the most expensive night of the year. The artists expressed that donating their time and talent is the least they could do in assisting the struggle for freedom in Ethiopia. The audience dinned on traditional Habesha and European cousin prepared by volunteers. The program was successful in raising funds for the families of political prisoner in Ethiopia, SMNE new initiative and fostering social and cultural solidarity between Habsesha community in Toronto. The night was concluded with a wish to organize a bigger event for the next new year eve.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ethiopian government used spyware against dissidents: report

In October 2016 at the Irreecha religious festival in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, at least 55 people were killed in a stampede after police fired tear gas into the crowds. 
The deaths sparked nationwide protests and within days, a different kind of countermeasure got underway: cyberattacks.
The government was very nervous, the population was angry. So it was this time that they tried to hack me.'-  Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed
Given the work activist Jawar Mohammed does with the Oromia Media Network (OMN) and his profile online, he figured he'd be an obvious target, but it was how he was targeted that surprised him.
"When this suspicious email came, I did not open it. I passed it to our IT department. They looked at it, and they suspected it might be spyware," he tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti
"We in the media were providing the domestic and international community with updated information from every village. So the situation was extremely intense. The government was very nervous, the population was angry. So it was this time that they tried to hack me."
Residents of Bishoftu crossed their wrists above their heads as a symbol for the Oromo anti-government protesting movement during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in Bishoftu, October 2, 2016. (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)
Even before the protests, Mohammed says the government was using different hackers from Russia and China to get into his email and attack OMN's website. 

What made the email suspicious?
Mohammed says the email looked like it came from people he knew. There was also a link provided and when clicked, prompted an Adobe software download.
"That was quite strange so I stopped there and contacted our IT people," he says.
Then the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab that studies surveillance and content filtering on the internet was contacted to investigate this email.  
Computer search engine
Bill Marczak at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab says rules and oversight regarding lawful intercept are lacking. (Getty Images)
Bill Marczak, senior research fellow at the facility, says upon looking at Mohammed's email, a link that looked like it was going to a website called, which is an Eritrean online video portal, was not what it seemed.
"When we looked at the link, it actually appeared that someone had registered a website to look like which was called So it was a lookalike website which was our immediate clue that something was suspicious," Marczak tells Tremonti.
A virtual machine in the lab determined that when the link in Mohammed's email was clicked and the software downloaded and installed, "it would have started sending information from the computer back to a server on the internet which is a telltale sign of spyware," Marczak says.
Is this illegal?
While it's typically illegal for a private individual to use spyware against someone else, Marczak says when it's a government following this procedure, they can often use local law as a defence.
"But the problem is that governments like Ethiopia and other places, the rules and oversight regarding lawful intercept are lacking," he says.
'We found an IP address traced to Ethiopia.'- Bill Marczak
Marczak says the lab was able to trace a sample of the spyware from Mohammed's email to a fake Adobe Flash update used by computer security researchers who investigate suspicious files.
"We noticed the second sample was signed by this company Cyberbit. And from there we looked at its website and found out that this is the company that claims to sell exclusively to governments," he explains.
The spyware was traced to Ethiopia because the server attached to it had a publicly accessible log file, according to Marczak.
"This is not typically something that you want to have on your spyware server if you're running a secret operation," Marczak says, adding that the company probably forgot that this feature existed.
"The log file showed who was logging in to check the results of the spyware. In other words, who was logging in to download the data that was being uploaded by infected computers, and we found an IP address traced to Ethiopia."
The Current did contact Canada's privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, for comment on this story. A spokesperson replied that online surveillance by foreign governments is outside the commission's jurisdiction, and directed The Current's producers to Global Affairs. We contacted that department, but no one got back to us. 
The Current also contacted the Ethiopian embassy in Ottawa. A spokeswoman there said no one was available to speak to this issue today. 

Listen to the full conversation above — including Dmitri Vitaliev, co-founder and director of, a Montreal-based nonprofit that provides support, training, and digital protection for journalists activists and civil society workers worldwide.

This segment was produced by The Current's John Chipman and Susana Ferriera.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Champing at the Cyberbit Ethiopian Dissidents Targeted with New Commercial Spy ware

Champing at the Cyberbit Ethiopian Dissidents Targeted with New Commercial Spyware

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

               The story of Yonatan Tesfaye, a political activist in prison for his FB posts.
                   Source Ethiopian Human Rights Project

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Former MP said Ethiopian Government is Inviting revolution into the country

The former MP, Mr. Girma Seifu Maru, made the above statement at a public meeting organized by Unity for Human Rights and Democracy, a Toronto-Based advocacy group, and at Hiruth restaurant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the weekend. Answering questions raised by participants of the meeting, Mr. Girma said the government of Ethiopia has no option but to resolve all conflicts with open heart in am amicable way. Mr. Girma said “if this country had to be transformed by a means other than violence, the government should open the door for discussion. Otherwise, the Ethiopian people have said no and public wave of protest could resolve the issues.”

The former sole opposition member of parliament, Mr. Girma came to Toronto last week to introduce his recently published book, “Yetekeberut” and meet Ethiopians in Toronto and surrounding regions. Mr. Girma’s book was on display at the Ethiopian Day ceremony held on September 9, 2017 at Christie Pits’ Park in Toronto where thousands of Ethiopians came out and celebrated in unison to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year. Mr. Girma was seen signing his new book for patrons. The book talks about Mr. Girma’s experience in the Ethiopian parliament also known as House of Representative, from 2010 till 2015, and it was published last month in Washington, DC. 

The panel discussion initially focused on Mr. Girma’s book and experience in the Ethiopian parliament. However, several issues were raised during the discussion including the current political turmoil in Ethiopia, the hopes and challenges to bring democratic changes in Ethiopia, and the things his colleagues and compatriots are doing in Ethiopia. The role of the diaspora was also discussed and Mr. Girma addressed them all. The former MP concluded his statement by saying things could get out of hand the country could lead into chaotic situation unless the government takes the lead and makes concessions. An excerpt was read from Mr. Girma’s book during the panel discussion.

Several Ethiopians attended the meeting that was held on the Ethiopian new year.

Unity for Human Rights and Democracy takes this opportunity to say Happy New Year to all Ethiopians in Ethiopia and around the world.. Unity wishes the New Year to be a year of peace, reconciliation and solidarity. Unity calls upon the government of Ethiopia to act responsibly, release all political prisoners, stop using excessive force to quell protests, and allow opponents the right to protest and organize in a peaceful manner. In short  "Respect the Constitution"

                                                    melkam Addis Amet

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“What they did on me is the worst. I experienced all the unspeakable rogue things at Maekelawi” Activist Nigist Yirga

Name: – Nigist Yirga Tefera
Age: – 24 years old
Address: – Amhara Regional State, Gonder town Kebele 18
Current situation: – Jailed in Kality prison
The reason why I am jailed: – For participating in peaceful public protests in Gondar of Amhara regional state.
Prosecutor’s official charge against me:- Federal prosecutor charged me and five others with terrorism. Prosecutor indicated in the charge that I was responsible for organizing and leading the Amhara protests in north Gondar having involved in terrorist organizations. Being the 1st defendant among other five on terrorism (Violation of ATP, article 3/4/6) charges brought on me; I am now attending court hearings at the 4th criminal bench of the federal high court Lideta branch.
The following rights violations are committed against me in prison:
1. I was imprisoned in dark and cold room in Maekelawi for days.
2. My families did not know my whereabouts for days
3. I was detained incommunicado for weeks and I am still detained far away from my home town.
4. I used to be called for interrogations at nights.
5. I was harassed, threatened and insulted because of my ethnicity and sex.
6. They made me stand naked in front of male interrogators and mock on my body. They made me bitterly hate the fact that I am born a woman.
7. My suffering during the interrogations includes pulling out of my finger nails.
8. Hair pulling and other similar tortures has also been my day to day experience
9. I am now in Kality prison since prosecutor officially charged me. But the rights violations have not yet stopped here too. Anyone who would like to visit me at Kality is not allowed except fewer people on name list that are available at the prison administrator’s hands. I can only be visited for 30 minutes from 12:00 am to 12:30 am.
I was born in Gondar. I went to school there in Gondar. I have seen the human rights violations and sufferings committed against prisoners at Kality and Qilinto when I came to Addis Ababa to visit relatives and also visit these prisoners who are from Gondar remote areas. I was very touched by what I have seen which I think to stand and speak for these people’s rights is what is expected from me.
Accordingly, I started to participate in public protests to demand the respect of rights. I participated at the July 2016 public protest held in Gondar following the accusation of Colonel Demeke Zewdu, founder of the “Wolkayite Amhara Identity Question Committee”, with murder and terrorism. Wearing a T-shirt with a slogan ‘The Amhara People are not Terrorists!’ I was at the forefront at the demo exercising my constitutionally guaranteed rights of participating at peaceful demonstration.
It is for such peaceful activities that I was kidnapped by the federal police and government security people and thrown to jail in September 2016.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ethiopia Human Rights Project·Monday, May 8, 2017

ወርሃዊ የኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብቶች ሁነቶች -ሚያዝያ 2009
እነደተለመደው በኢትዮጵያ ሰብአዊ መብቶችና የህግ የበላይነት ጉዳይ እየተባባሰ እንጂ እየተሻሻለ አልመጣም፡፡ በወርሃ ሚያዝያ የተከናወኑ ዋና ዋና ሰብአዊ መብት ጋር የተያያዙ ጉዳዪችን በአጭሩ እንዲህ አቅርበናቸዋል፡፡
1. በእነ ጉርሜሳ አያኖ/በቀለ ገርባ የክስ መዝገብ የድምፅ ከምስል ማስረጃዎች ትርጉም ባለመቅረቡ ተከሳሾች እየተጉላሉ ነው
በፌደራል አቃቤ ህግ የሽብር ክስ የቀረበባቸው የኦፌኮ አመራሮችና አባላት የእነ ጉርሜሳ አያኖ መዝገብ ለሚያዚያ 2, 2009 ዓ.ም አቃቤ ህግ በማስረጃነት ያቀረባቸው በኦሮምኛ እና በእንግሊዘኛ ቋንቋ የተሰሙ የድምፅ ከምስል ማስረጃዎችን የኢትዮጵያ ብሮድካስቲንግ ኮርፖሬሽን በፍርድ ቤቱ የስራ ቋንቋ ተርጉሞ እንዲያቀርብ ቀጠሮ ተሰጥቶት ነበር፡፡
ሆኖም እንዲተረጎሙ የተላኩትን 3ት ሲዲዎች ለመተርጎም ሰፊ ጊዜ የሚወስዱ በመሆናቸው እና ባለሙያዎች የስራ መደራረብ ስላለባቸው ፍ/ቤቱ ሌሎች አማራጮችን እንዲጠቀሙ የሚገልፅ በ29/7/2009 ከኢብኮ የተፃፈ ደብዳቤ መቅረቡን ዳኞች በመግለጽ ትርጉሙ እንዳልደረሳቸው አሳውቀዋል፡፡ ይህን ተከትሎም አቃቤ ህግ የእንግሊዝኛና የኦሮምኛ አስተርጓሚ ተፈልጎ ማስረጃው በድጋሚ በችሎት እየታየ እንዲተረጎም ጠይቋል።
ተከሳሾች ግን የትርጉም ስራውን በተመለከተ ተደጋጋሚ ቀጠሮ እየተሰጠ መሆኑ ገልፀው፤ አቃቤ ህግ ሃላፊነቱን እንዳልተወጣና ማስረጃዎቹን በፍ/ቤቱ የስራ ቋንቋ ተርጉሞ ማቅረብ እንዳልተፈለገ ተቆጥሮ ማስረጃው ውድቅ እንዲደረግና በቀረቡ ማስረጃዎች ብይን እንዲሰጥ አመልክተዋል። ተከሳሾች በአቃቤ ህግ ማስረጃዎቹን በአግባቡ ባለማቅረቡ ለከፍተኛ እንግልት እየተዳረጉ ስለመሆናቸውም ለፍርድ ቤቱ ገልጸው ነበር፡፡ ጉዳዩን የሚያየው የፌደራል ከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት ልደታ ምድብ 4ኛ ወንጀል ችሎት በበኩሉ ከኢትዮጵያ ብሮድካስቲንግ ኮርፖሬሽን (ኢብኮ) የሚመለከተው ሃላፊ ሁለት አስተርጓሚዎችን(አንድ የኦሮምኛ እና አንድ የእንግሊዘኛ ቋንቋ) ይዞ ሚያዚያ 5, 2009 ዓ.ም እንዲቀርብ ጥብቅ ትእዛዝ በመስጠት ሌላ ቀጠሮ ሰጥቶ ነበር፡፡
ሆኖም በዚሁ ቀጠሮ (ሚያዝያ 5/2009) ኢብኮ የድምፅ ከምስል አስተርጓሚ ሳያቀርብ ቀርቷል፡፡ በዚህ ቀጠሮ ከኢብኮ ለምን ትርጉምን እንዳልሰሩ ለማስረዳት የተላኩ የስራ ኃላፊ፣ "ጉዳዩ ሴንሴቲቭ ነው፤ የቋንቋ ብቻ ጉዳይ ሳይሆን የህግ ጉዳይ ነው።" በማለት ለፍ/ቤት ተናግረዋል፡፡
ፍ/ቤቱም ከፍ/ቤት ተልከው የሚሄዱትን ፓስተኞች አልቀበልም እያሉ የተቋሙ (ኢብኮ) ሰራተኞች እንደሚያስቸግሯቸው ጠቅሰው ባጠቃላይ ተቋሙ የፍ/ቤት ትእዛዞችን ከዚህ ቀደም ያልፈፀመበት አግባብ ምክንያታዊ እንዳልሆነ በመናገር ከዚህ ቀደም የሆነውን በማስጠንቀቂያ እንዳለፏቸው ገልፀው ከዚህ በኋላ የሚታዘዘው የማይፈፀም ከሆነ ህጋዊ እርምጃ እንደሚወሰድባቸው ተወክለው ለመጡት ለአቶ ፀጋአብ ተነግሯቸዋል።
በዚህም መሰረት እጅግ ቢዘገይ እስከ ሚያዚያ 18/2009 ባለው ቀን ውስጥ ከኢብኮ የመጡት ሃላፊ ሃላፊነቱን ወስደው የትርጉም ስራው በፅሁፍ እንዲሰራ እንዲያደርጉ እና በፅሁፍ ለፍ/ቤቱ እንዲያስገቡ ፤ እንዲሁም አቃቤ ህግ እና የተከሳሽ ጠበቆች በተተረጎመው ሰነድ ላይ ያላቸውን አስተያየት ከሚያዚያ 18/2009 በኋላ በቢሮ እንዲያቀርቡ ትእዛዝ ተሰጥቷል። ብይኑን ለመስማት ለግንቦት 7/2009 ቀጠሮ ተይዟል።
2. ጋዜጠኛ ጌታቸው ሺፈራው ለ3ኛ ጊዜ ፍርድ ለመስጠት በሚል ቀጠሮ ተሰጥቶበታል (ሚያዝያ 20/2009 )
የነገረ ኢትዮጵያ ጋዜጣ ዋና አዘጋጅ ጋዜጠኛ ጌታቸው ሺፈራው በተከሰሰበት የወንጀል ድርጊት ማስረጃዎችን ሰምቶ ያጠናቀቀው የፌደራሉ ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ልደታ ምድብ 4ኛ ወንጀል ችሎት በመዝገቡ ላይ የፍርድ ውሳኔ ለማሳለፍ በሚል ብቻ ለ3ኛ ጊዜ ተለዋጭ ቀጠሮ የሰጠው በዚሁ በሚያዝያ ወር ነው፡፡
ፍ/ቤቱ ብይኑን ላለመስራቱ የሰጠው ምክንያት ‹‹ተከሳሹ የካቲት 30/2009 ዓ.ም በችሎት የሰጠው የተከሳሽነት መከላከያ ቃል ከድምጽ ወደ ጽሁፍ ተገልብጦ ከመዝገቡ ጋር አልተያያዘልኝም›› የሚል ነበር፡፡ በዚህም ፍ/ቤቱ ፍርድ ለመስጠት በሚል ለ3ኛ ጊዜ ለግንቦት 16/2009 ዓ.ም ቀጠሮ ይዟል፡፡
3. ዶ/ር መረራ ጉዲና በቀረበባቸው ክስ ላይ ያላቸውን መቃወሚያ አቅርበዋል
በፌደራል አቃቤ ህግ የተለያዩ ክሶች የቀረቡባቸው ዶ/ር መረራ ጉዲና የመጀመሪያ ደረጃ የክስ መቃወሚያቸውን ሚያዝያ 16/2009 ዓ.ም በጽሁፍ አቅርበዋል፡፡ ዶ/ር መረራ ጉዲና ለከፍተኛው ፍርድ ቤት ልደታ ምድብ 19ኛ ወንጀል ችሎት ያስገቡት መቃወሚያ 11 ገጾች ያሉት ነው፡፡
በ1ኛ ክስ ጉዳያቸው በሌሉበት ከሚታየው 2ኛ እና 3ኛ ተከሳሽ ጋር አንቀፅ 238(1) እና (2) ስር በመተላለፍ የተመለከተውን በመተላለፍ የቀረበውን ክስ በተመለከተ፤ ዶ/ር መረራ ከተጠቀሱት ተከሳሾች ጋር ምንም አይነት ድርጅታዊ ቁርኝት ጉዳይ ባለመኖሩ የቀረበባቸው የክስ ጭብጥ ተነጥሎ እንዲታይ በመቃወሚያው ላይ ተጠይቋል።
የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ 01/2009 አንቀፅ 2(1) ላይ የተደነገገውን በመተላለፍ ለብቻቸው የቀረበባቸውን 3ኛ ክስ በተመለከተ፤ ዶ/ር መረራ ከየትኛውም የሽብርተኛ ድርጅት ጋር ግንኙነት እንደሌላቸው እና በሽብርተኝነት ከተሰየሙ ድርጅቶች ጋርም ምንም ግንኙነት ኖሯቸው እንደማያውቅ ተገልፇል።
የወንጀል አንቀፅ 486(ለ)ን በመተላለፍ ለብቻቸው የቀረበቸውን 4ኛ ክስ በተመለከተ፤ "የሃሰት ወሬን ለማውራት በማሰብ" በሚል የቀረበው ክስ ሃሳብን በነፃነት ከመግለፅ ጋር የሚያያዝ እንጂ ሃሰተኛ ወሬን መንዛት እንዳልሆነ፤ እንዲሁም በ2006 ተፈፀመ የተባለ ወንጀልን አቃቤ ህግ እድካሁን ድረስ ማስረጃውን ይዞ ማቆየቱ የክሱን እውነትነት እንደሚያጠራጥር በመቃወሚያው ላይ ተጠቅሷል።
በአጠቃላይ በዶ/ር መረራ ላይ የቀረቡት ክሶች በወንጀል ክስ አግባብ መሰረት ተሟልቶ ያልቀረቡ በመሆኑ ሁሉም ክሶች ውድቅ ተደርገው በነፃ እንዲሰናበቱ ተጠይቋል።
የክስ መቃወሚያውን የተቀበለው ችሎት በበኩሉ በቀረበው መቃወሚያ ላይ የአቃቤ ህግን መልስ ለመቀበል ለሚያዚያ 26/2009 ቀጠሮ በመያዝ በዕለቱ መልሱን በጽሁፍ ተቀብሏል፡፡ አቃቤ ህግ በሰጠው መልስም በተከሳሽ በኩል የቀረበው የክስ መቃወሚያ ሙሉ ለሙሉ ውድቅ እንዲደረግለት ጠይቋል፡፡
በተከሳሽ ዶ/ር መረራ ጉዲና የቀረበውን መቃወሚያ እና በአቃቤ ህግ የተሰጠውን አስተያየት መርምሮ ብይን ለመስጠት ፍ/ቤቱ ለግንቦት 25/2009 ቀጠሮ ሰጥቷል።
4. የኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብቶች ኮሚሽን በተለያዩ የሀገሪቱ አካባቢዎች የነበሩ ተቃውሞዎችን በተመለከተ የምርመራ ሪፖርት አውጥቷል
የኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብቶች ኮሚሽን በ2008 እና 2009 ዓ.ም በሀገሪቱ የተለያዩ አካባቢዎች በተለይም በኦሮሚያና አማራ ክልሎች ተከስቶ በነበረው ህዝባዊ ተቃውሞ ወቅት የደረሰውን ጉዳት አስመልክቶ ያወጣውን የምርመራ ሪፖርት ለህዝብ ተወካዮች ም/ቤት ያቀረበው በዚሁ በሚያዝያ ወር ላይ ነበር፡፡ የምርመራ ሪፖርቱን የኮሚሽኑ ኮሚሽነር አዲሱ ገ/እግዚያብሄር አቅርበዋል፡፡
ኮሚሽኑ ለሁለተኛ ጊዜ ለም/ቤቱ ባቀረበው ሪፖርቱ እንዳመለከተው ተቀስቅሶ በነበረው ህዝባዊ ተቃውሞ ምክንያት በአጠቃላይ 669 ሰዎች ተገድለዋል፡፡ ለተቃውሞዎቹ በመንስኤነት የተቀመጠው በመንግስት በኩል ያለው የመልካም አስተዳደር እጦት ሲሆን፣ ተቃውሞዎችን በማባባስ ደግሞ የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲዎችን፣ ከሀገር ውጭ የሚገኙ የሳተላይት ሚዲያዎችንና ማህበራዊ ሚዲያን ተጠያቂ አድርጓቸዋል-ኮሚሽኑ በሪፖርቱ፡፡
5. የተባበሩት መንግስታት ድርጅት የሰብዓዊ መብት ኮሚሽነር ኢትዮጵያን ጎብኝተዋል፤ በጉብኝታቸው ተቃውሞ ተቀስቅሶባቸው የነበሩ አካባቢዎችን እንዳይጎበኙ ተከልክለዋል
ከሚያዝያ 24-26 ዓ.ም በኢትዮጵያ ጉብኝት ያደረጉት የተባበሩት መንግስታት ድርጅት የሰብዓዊ መብት ኮሚሽነር ዘይድ ራዒድ በጉብኝታቸው ከኢትዮጵያ መንግስት ባለስልጣናትና ከተቃዋሚ ፓርቲ አመራሮች ጋር ተገናኝተው ተነጋግረዋል ተብሏል፡፡
ኮሚሽነሩ በሀገሪቱ ሰብዓዊ መብት አጠባበቅና የሚዲያ ነጻነት እንዲሁም ተያያዥ ጉዳዮች ላይ መወያየታቸው የታወቀ ሲሆን፣ በቅርቡ የህዝባዊ ተቃውሞ ተቀስቅሶባቸው የነበሩ አካባቢዎች (ኦሮሚያና አማራ ክልሎችን) ለመጎብኘት ቢፈልጉም በመንግስት እንደተከለከሉ ተገልጹዋል፡፡ ኮሚሽነር ዛይድ በቅርቡ በኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብቶች ኮሚሽን የቀረበውን የምርመራ ሪፖርት በራሳቸው ገለልተኛ ማጣራትና ማረጋገጥም ሆነ አባሪ ማስረጃ ማግኘት አለመቻላቸውን አሳውቀዋል፡፡
6. የዓለም የፕሬስ ነጻነት ቀን ሚያዝያ 25/2009 ዓ.ም ታስቦ ውሏል
በተባበሩት መንግስታት ጠቅላላ ጉባዔ ውሳኔ መሰረት በየዓመቱ ሜይ 3 (ሚያዝያ 25) የሚከበረው የዓለም ፕሬስ ነጻነት ቀን በአለም አቀፍ ደረጃ ተከብሯል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብቶች ፕሮጀክት ዕለቱን አስመልክቶ ባሰፈረው መረጃ መሰረት ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ሃሳባቸውን ከመግለጻቸው ጋር በተገናኘ ከአስር በላይ ጋዜጠኞችና ጦማርያን በእስር ላይ ይገኛሉ፡፡ እነዚህም ጋዜጠኛና ጦማሪ እስክንድር ነጋ፣ ጋዜጠኛ ውብሸት ታዬ፣ ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገን ደሳለኝ፣ ጋዜጠኛ ጌታቸው ሺፈራው፣ ጋዜጠኛ ዳርሰማ ሶሪ፣ ጋዜጠኛ ካሊድ ሞሃመድ፣ ጋዜጠኛ ጌታቸው ወርቁ፣ ጋዜጠኛ ኤልያስ ገብሩ፣ ጦማሪ ዘላለም ወርቃገኘሁ፣ እና የኢንተርኔት አክቲቪስት ዮናታን ተስፋዬ ይገኙበታል፡፡
ከእነዚህ በተጨማሪ ሀሳባቸውን በነጻነት በመግለጻቸው ክስ ተመስርቶባቸው፣ ነገር ግን ከእስር ውጭ ሆነው ክሳቸው በይደር ያለ ጦማርያንና ጋዜጠኞች ይገኛሉ፡፡ እነዚህም፡-የዞን ዘጠኝ ጦማርያን በፍቃዱ ኃይሉ፣ ናትናኤል ፈለቀና አጥናፍ ብርሃኔ፣ እንዲሁም ጋዜጠኛ ኤልያስ ገብሩና አምደኛ አምሳሉ ገ/ኪዳን ናቸው፡፡

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Torture Chronicles of Ethiopian Patriot Habtamu Ayalew (in His Own Words)

By Professor Al Mariam

Author’s Note: Following is my translation of the Amharic interview given by Habtamu Ayalew to the Voice of America (VOA), Amharic Program on March 15, 2017 and broadcast on the same day and on March 18 on “Democracy in Action” program. Translation of speech or text often presents some technical problems. Some of them are lexical-semantic; others are grammatical and syntactic. Even more difficult to translate are rhetorical ones involving metaphors and figures of speech. I have aimed for accuracy and meaning in this translation of Habtamu’s words. I have also confirmed with Habtamu and made necessary clarifications to certain statements he made in the interview to ensure the translation accurately represents his intended sense and meaning. Any errors and inaccuracies in translation are exclusively mine. (Full audio of Amharic interview is available HERE.)
This translation and commentary herein have two purposes. First and foremost, my effort here is  aimed at helping Habtamu Ayalew communicate his story and harrowing experiences of torture, humiliation, degradation and all manners of abuse he suffered at the hands of the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples’ Liberation Front (T-TPLF) to international English-speaking and –reading audience. I hasten to add that Habtamu’s story of personal (and family) suffering is neither unique nor personal. Habtamu speaks, and speaks convincingly and powerfully on behalf of the tens of thousands of political prisoners held by the T-TPLF whose names are known only to their families (if the families are lucky enough not to be told the usual T-TPLF lie, “No such person is held in this prison.”) and God. I discuss the second reason for my effort here in the “Post Script” following the translated text of the interview below.
Among the thousands of torture victims in the hands of the T-TPLF today include: Journalists Eskinder Nega, Temesgen Desalegn, Woubshet Taye, Anania Sorri (recently released) and  political leaders Dr. Merra Gudina, Andualem Aragie, Bekele Gerba and so many others.  A partial list of T-TPLF political prisoners and torture victims with long prison sentences is available HERE.
Who is Ethiopian Patriot Habtamu Ayalew?

Habtamu Ayalew, the former spokesman for the opposition Andenet (Unity) party was arrested on July 8, 2014 and charged with terrorism for allegedly collaborating with the opposition Ginbot 7, which the Ethiopian government has designated a terrorist group. He was detained at the notorious Maekelawi and Qilinto Prisons, where he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment through denial of access to toilet facilities, a situation that led to him to develop excruciatingly painful hemorrhoids.Much can be said of the young, brilliant and dynamic Ethiopia opposition leader Habtamu Ayalew. Suffice it to present his “biography” as stated concisely by Amnesty International.
Habtamu is one of the few T-TPLF prison torture victims to ever leave Ethiopia alive. He barely managed to survive and tell the harrowing accounts of the horrific torture chambers of the T-TPLF’s notorious Maekelawi and Qilinto Prisons. (For a comprehensive report on the infamous torture chambers of Maekelawi Prison,  see Human Rights Watch report, “They Want a Confession”]. In August 2016, a massive fire broke out at Qilinto Prison, a few kilometers south of the capital, where hundreds of political prisoners are held, killing dozens of prisoners. According to a report in Addis Standard, an eyewitness stated that he saw “armed prison guards shooting indiscriminately at prisoners [in Qilinto Prison] [as] most of them were running frantically to extinguish the fire”. Similarly, 0n November 3, 2005, during an alleged disturbance in Kality prison, another prison a few kilometers south of the capital, which lasted 15 minutes, prison guards fired more than 1500 bullets into inmate housing units leaving 17 dead, and 53 severely wounded.)

Voice of America, Amharic Program interview of Habtamu Ayalew first (part 1) broadcast on March 15, 2017 and (part 2) and on March 18 on “Democracy in Action” program.
Segment introduction by VOA Amharic Program radio journalist Alula Kebede: As we noted earlier in the introduction of this broadcast [of Democracy in Action Program], our guest today is Mr. Habtamu Ayalew. He is the former spokesperson for Andenet (Unity) Party. We will be discussing his 2 years in prison in Ethiopia awaiting trial accused of terrorism and listen to his story of the inhumane treatment, suffering and extreme abuse he suffered during his imprisonment and the present health impact of his abuse in prison. He also explains how the inhumane treatment in prison and during interrogation has resulted in the deaths of  many prisoners and caused extreme health consequences for others who survived.
The program producer and presenter [interviewer] Solomon Kifle requests parental cooperation in keeping children away from listening to this broadcast because of the  extremely shocking revelations in the interview.


Solomon Kifle: Begins with Mr. Habtamu’s account of how his abuse in prison began.
Habtamu: So in Ethiopia, it has become a badge of citizenship, a sign of the [civically] aware citizen, the distinctive character of the innocent citizen, to be arbitrarily jailed and killed [by the T-TPLF]. For the longest time, from the beginning of EPRDF [“Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front”] rule [the shell front organization for the T-TPLF], it is well known that being jailed has become a badge of citizenship. For me, since I was held at Maekelawi Prison [July 2014] that notorious and ugly place even to the present day, I was subjected to extremely inhumane treatment and abuse which has wounded not only my body but also my conscience [soul]. (For a comprehensive report on the infamous torture chambers of Maekelawi Prions see Human Rights Watch report, “The Want a Confession].)
Solomon Kifle: Was there a time when you were held alone in solitary confinement? For instance, in total darkness?
Habtamu: Well, at Maekelawi, there are eight holding areas [cell blocks] for prisoners. There are empty basements [under the holding areas] that are extremely cold.  And the person the interrogators select to put in there, they first douse him with water and lock him up in the extreme cold. The cold inflicts extreme injury to your body. Among these awful rooms [cells], there are two that are regarded as extremely horrible. They are particularly considered to be extremely horrible compared to the others. One is No. 7 and the second is No. 8. No. 8 has four separate rooms [cells] to hold one person each. It is so small that you can only stand. There is no room to stretch your hands or legs. It is so narrow, except for sleeping on your back, there is no space to turn to one side or the other. [Habtamu told me the cells in no. 8 were “like a coffin”.] These are extremely hard dark rooms. I was held in cell no. 7. It is a cell where there are between 13-15 prisoners held piled up on each other. The two walls of the cell are next to the latrine that smelled awful. I was in that extremely awful cell for all four months at Maekelawi. The basement of cell no. 7 is flooded [a water tanker] with water [as Habtamu told me the water reaches the ceiling of the basement when flooded and wets the floor and the prisoner’s mattresses and mats in cell no. 7.] On the left and on the right of cell no. 7 and 8 are latrines. On one side is a latrine called “Tawla” and on the other side is a latrine called “Siberia”, both of which share the basement that is flooded with water to torture prisoners. (For a description of “Tawla”, “Siberia” and “Sheraton” cell blocks, click on link HERE.) During the whole time I was there, I remember quite a number of prisoners who were placed in the cold basements for up to 15 days. After prisoners are held in the flooded cold basement for a period of time, they were taken away. I and five others were held in cell no. 7 during the 4 months I was held [at Maekalawi].

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