“Injustice in Ethiopia is Injustice Everywhere” – Unity Toronto

July 30th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

It has been reported that Mr. BASHIR AHMED MAKHTAL, a Canadian citizen is convicted of guilty verdict on charges of terrorist act. (more…)

It has been reported that Mr. BASHIR AHMED MAKHTAL, a Canadian citizen is convicted of guilty verdict on charges of terrorist act. His sentencing is due shortly. It appears that the authorities in Addis Ababa are trying to justify due process of law is being followed up to convince critics who allege the whole system is a sham. Indeed, Mr. Bashir is a victim of a vindictive regime whose rebellious past and Stalinist background targets opposition leaders, academics, human rights and civic leaders, journalists and artists. We have witnessed thousands of those victims who suffered under similar trumpeted charges and gone through highly orchestrated court proceedings which determine fate in advance, even before the officials decide whom to jail next. The doctrine of “presumption of innocence” is not in the legal dictionary of the ruling party as every move is politically motivated.

Mukthal has long been condemned guilty soon after he was kidnapped at a gun point, as officials of present day Ethiopia, associate guilt to ones ethnic background or next of kin or your blood relationship. As an Ethiopian from the Ogden region and related to one former leader, Bashir’s fate was determined well before even we knew his whereabouts. Has it not been for media coverage given and appeals by different groups, officials would not even have revealed his identity. They would have murdered him somewhere in Somalia and continue to deny that he has been captured. This is not unprecedented since they came to power 18 years ago. The deaths of several civic and military leaders whom officials are denying , but whereabouts and fates unknown to date are not secrets any longer.

The conviction is not that unexpected from a judicial system which has never been independent. One cannot expect a fair trial from a government which itself is terrorizing its citizens. The Ethiopian government’s record of human rights abuse, extra judicial killings and mass arrests has been well documented by different rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, European parliament, CPJ and the United States government State Departments annual country reports.

The current Ethiopian government has been in power for 18 yeas now. It is notoriously known for legislating draconian laws, such as the Press law, NGO and the recent Anti Terrorism law. The judicial system is controlled by cadres of the ruling party who are loyal to implement any orders on how to handle any case brought before the court. The police, security system and the courts are operating in tandem to ensure the leaders ultimate authority over the 80 million populations. Fabrication of charges, planting evidences, selecting and coaching potential witnesses are coordinated tasks of the judicial and security apparatus created by those leaders who are determined to continue their dictatorial authority for an indefinite time

Currently, Ethiopia is reported being a jail house for far more political prisoners than any sub Saharan country in Africa. It is also reported that the ruling party is still running secret prisons in remote and inaccessible corners of the country which is housing former rebel commanders and opposition figures. The harsh treatment of prisoners and brutal investigative techniques has caused deaths, physical disabilities and mental anguish to several people opposed to their rule.

Unity for Human Rights and Democracy strongly condemns the guilty verdict the officials in Addis Ababa have let the courts pass on Mr. Bashir Makhtal and, we appeal to the Canadian government to immediately intervene and exert pressure on the officials in Ethiopia, for an end to this theatrical process. As the Canadian government has spent millions of tax payer’s money in an attempt to modernize the Ethiopian judicial system, it is in the interest of every Canadian that rule of law and human rights are respected in Ethiopia. We understand Canadian government’ is not expecting Mr. Bashir Makhtal is guaranteed due process or freedom from court of law in Ethiopia. Rather, we urge them to review their bilateral aid policy with Ethiopia and exert diplomatic pressures on officials to secure the release of this Canadian citizen who has suffered unbearable ordeals all along since his kidnap over two years ago.

Finally, we call upon all Ethiopian Canadians to join hands together and urge Prime Minister Harper and other government officials to consider this matter as extremely urgent and save Mr. Bashir Makhtal’s life and ensure his freedom.

7 Woodmount Ave Toronto, Ontario, M4C 1X4
Telephone No. 416 422 2962 Email. unityforhumanrights@gmail.com
A Canadian Human Rights Advocacy Organization

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