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Ethiopian News


  • US embassy in Ethiopia finally talked about the protest in the country

    Friends, many of you have been asking why we aren't talking about the ongoing reports of violence against and detentions of protesters in #Ethiopia. In the last several weeks, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski, former Ambassador Haslach, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power have all publicly called for an end to the violence and for respect for basic constitutional rights to be observed in Ethiopia. Our position has not changed nor has our commitment to helping the people of Ethiopia achieve the prosperous future they deserve. So we continue to provide humanitarian assistance for millions of Ethiopians living on the edge of hunger as well important health and education programs as part of our support for Ethiopia's long-term development goals. All the areas of our support: democratic development, economic growth and resiliency, and regional peace and security are equally important and interdependent. Success in one will not come without progress in the others so we remain committed to advancing all of them.

      

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  • Landslide kills around 12 people in bale robe

     

     

    Robe, more commonly known as Bale Robe , is a town and separate woreda in south-central Ethiopia. Located in the Bale Zone of the Oromia Region, this town has a latitude and longitude of 7°7′N 40°0′E with an elevation of 2,492 metres (8,176 ft) above sea level.

    It is located about 430 kilometres by road from Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

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  • Briton jailed in Ethiopia: court rules Foreign Office does not have to intercede

    Andargachew Tsige’s daughter, 9, denied application for judicial review of UK government’s handling of case

    A British national kidnapped by Ethiopia and held in jail faces an uncertain future after a court ruled that the Foreign Office did not have to intercede on his behalf.

    A high court judge denied an application by Andargachew Tsige’s nine-year-old daughter, Menabe, demanding a judicial review of the UK government’s handling of the case.

    Tsige, a prominent opposition activist who had been living in Britain for 35 years, was kidnapped at Sana’a airport in Yemen by Ethiopian security agents in 2014, after having been tried and sentenced to death in absentia.

    More than two years later, Tsige remains in prison and the UK government has made no public call for his release. The government has merely lobbied for Tsige to get a fair trial and access to a proper defence team. But lawyers acting for Menabe Tsige argued that this approach had proven useless.

    Reacting to the ruling on Wednesday, Yemi Hailemariam, Tsige’s partner and the mother of his two children, said: “The judge could clearly see the humanity in the case, but assumed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office must be doing more than just calling for ‘due process’. But there is no evidence for this.

    “I’m devastated. Nothing has changed for him. He will remain there. It’s very sad.”

    In documents submitted to the court, Menabe’s lawyers stressed the real risks Tsige faced if the government refused to change its approach: “Not least, that [he] will be executed, but even if he is not killed, that he will spend the rest of his life imprisoned.”

    Andy Tsige, pictured in 2014 with his family. Photograph: Yemi Hailemariam

    The former foreign secretary, Phillip Hammond, argued that calling for Tsige’s released would be “counterproductive, and could affect the government’s ability to progress the case”. In an open letter published last week, the new foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, maintained this position, and reiterated that “Britain does not interfere in the legal systems of other countries by challenging convictions.”

    Tsige’s release has been called for by the UN, members of US congress, the European parliament, and various British MPs, as international concern mounts over rising repression in Ethiopia.

    Tsige is secretary general of an exiled Ethiopian opposition movement, Ginbot 7. He fled the country in the 1970s, after his brother was murdered, and settled in the UK in 1979. The Ethiopian government has accused him of “terrorism”. Hailemariam and her children have received no written assurances that the government will not uphold the death penalty and execute Tsige.

    Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said in other cases of British nationals kidnapped or detained abroad, most recently in the arrest of Lee Bo, a bookseller living in Hong Kong who was seized by Chinese authorities, the government did release statements calling for his release.

    She added that international pressure has proven successful in prompting the release of political prisoners in Ethiopia. In July last year, the charges against a group of young journalists, known as the Zone9 bloggers, were dropped and they were released from the infamous Kality prison, where Tsige is also being held, ahead of a state visit by President Obama.Press freedom observers speculated that it was the presence of such a high-profile politician that had forced the government to change its position.

    Speaking after the ruling, Foa said: “Over two years into this British father’s ordeal, it’s deeply concerning that the Foreign Office has not asked for his release – and today’s ruling comes as another blow to his desperate family. One thing remains clear – the FCO urgently needs to change its strategy, so that Andy can return to his family in London.”

     

     

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  • Kilinto fire: Ethiopian government accused of gunning down political prisoners as they flee burning jail - THE INDEPENDENT

    Rights groups have raised serious concerns over the fate of political prisoners held at a facility on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa after 23 inmates died in a huge fire at the high-security complex.

    While the cause of the blaze remains unknown, the Ethiopian government has admitted at least two of the prisoners were gunned down by the authorities as they fled the burning building.

    The Kilinto prison has become notorious as a holding facility for jailed members of the opposition, including members of the ethnic minority Oromo people.

    And the Oromo Federalist Congress, a key opposition party, said there were fears for the lives of its “entire leadership”, which it said was being detained at Kilinto at the time.

    Amnesty International and New York-based Human Rights Watch, which has been monitoring the deaths of the Oromo people during a government crackdown on political protests, told The Independent it was vital the authorities released the names of those killed in the incident.

    The fire broke out on Saturday, just hours after a leader of the Oromo ethnic group, Tiruneh Gamta, had called for the release of “all political prisoners”.

    Local media groups reported gunfire could be heard from the scene, while a TV station based outside Ethiopia broadcast footage of the fire live.

    Initially, the Ethiopian government said one person was killed in the fire. But in a statement released this week via the state affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate, it said 21 died from “stampede, fire burns and suffocation”.

    “The remaining two were killed while trying to escape from prison,” Fana reported, adding that two buildings were damaged in the blaze.  

    The government statement provided no details of how the fire began, only stating that the police were investigating, nor did it give the names of any of those killed.

    And on Tuesday, OFC’s Assistant Deputy Chairman Mulatu Gemechu told the Reuters news agency: “Our entire leadership is being held in that place and we have no idea what has happened to them.

     

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    Ethiopian state TV censors marathon runner’s finishing line protest

     

    “The government has a responsibility to explain to the public, no less their families. We have no idea why it is taking that long.”

    Some local media have questioned the official version of events. They cited unnamed witnesses saying the prisoners were shot by wardens.

    Ethiopian journalist Tesfalem Waldyes, who was detained in Kilinto prison for more than a year before his release in July 2015, told The Independent it was hard to believe reports that the fire began as an attempted jailbreak.

    “It is difficult for inmates to access fire,” he said. “Prisoners are not allowed to cook or smoke. And the remand facility is a highly guarded place and security cameras are everywhere.”

    Though it has become known for political imprisonments, Kilinto is a facility where suspects of all sorts of crimes are held, sometimes for many years, before trial. 

    As such, none of its inmates have actually been convicted of their alleged crimes. Yet Tesfalem said the prison still operates under a ruthless regime, with those who complain about abusive treatment subjected to the “Kitat Bet” (punishment house) or the “dark house”, a form of isolation.

    “The political prisoners mostly face harassment, intimidation, confiscation of their written materials, denial of their visitation rights and sometimes physical abuse,” he said.

    It was impossible to know, until the government releases more information, how many of those killed were political prisoners. Tesfalem said all those who are arrested on political grounds are sent to the facility to await trial, and they make up a significant proportion of the 3,000 or so inmates, though not the majority.  

    Human Rights Watch says more than 500 people have been killed in clashes between the security forces and protesters demanding greater political freedoms in the province of Oromia.

    Last week, the African Union – which is based in Addis Abiba – expressed concerns about the unrest for the first time, while on Sunday the US ambassador to the UN said her country had raised “grave concerns” about what it called the excessive use of force against protesters in Ethiopia, a long-time ally.

     

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  • A state-affiliated broadcaster in Ethiopia is reporting that 23 people have died in a prison fire over the weekend.

    A state-affiliated broadcaster in Ethiopia is reporting that 23 people have died in a prison fire over the weekend.

    The Kilinto prison on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, is where many opposition figures and journalists are held.

    Fana Broadcasting Corporate cites a government statement as saying 21 inmates died from stampede and suffocation. It says the other two were killed while trying to escape.

    Activists in Ethiopia first raised concerns about the fire on Saturday, saying around 20 had been killed.

    The government originally said only one person died in the fire.

    The latest government statement does not say how the fire began. It says an investigation has begun.

     
     

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