Ethiopia opposition says nearly 450 members jailed – By Barry Malone (Reuters)

November 3rd, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopian opposition parties say nearly 450 of their members have been jailed to stop them running as candidates in national elections in May next year. (more…)

Ethiopian opposition parties say nearly 450 of their members have been jailed to stop them running as candidates in national elections in May next year.

Documents given to Reuters by four opposition parties listed the prisoners’ names, the dates on which they were arrested and the jails in which they were being held.

One party, the All Ethiopia Unity Organisation (AEUO), has recorded seven murders of members over the last 12 months that it says were politically motivated.

“These jailings are to stop our members running in elections,” Gizachew Shiferaw, deputy leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party, told Reuters. “It has become a strategy for the ruling party. Ethiopia is a one-party state.”

Most analysts say the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) will easily win the 2010 elections — but opposition parties say that is because government harassment will stop their members contesting.

The authorities strongly deny the claims and say only criminals have been arrested.

“Nobody has been imprisoned or killed for political activity, to my knowledge,” Bereket Simon, the Ethiopian government’s head of information, told Reuters, adding that the authorities would further investigate the documented names.

“Our preliminary investigation indicates that these people are engaged in real crime,” he said. “We can’t release criminals because they are opposition members.”

NO CHANCE OF WINNING

Bereket said the opposition was trying to discredit the electoral process because they realised they had no chance of winning in 2010. This week, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and three opposition parties agreed a set of rules for the elections.

Police and soldiers shot dead about 200 protesters after the opposition accused the government of rigging elections in 2005.

Along with the AEUO and the UDJ, the other two parties who gave Reuters lists of detainees were the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) and the Oromo Peoples’ Congress, who have been refused permission to form an alliance.

Most of those listed are ethnic Oromos who, despite being Ethiopia’s largest group, have not held power in modern times.

Meles comes from the Tigryan ethnic group, who make up only 6 percent of the population but dominate the political elite.

Another three parties told Reuters members were regularly arrested and held briefly to scare them off registering for the polls. Those parties have not yet begun documenting the cases.

Photographs seen by Reuters show vandalised buildings in small towns outside the capital Addis Ababa that the opposition says are their regional offices.

Ethiopia has never had a peaceful transition of power. Meles took over in 1991 after a rebel group led by him and others overthrew a communist regime.

(Editing by Daniel Wallis)

© 2009 Reuters

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  1. Ye-Quaraw
    | #1

    Dear AbugidaInfo

    There is no need to worry about the 450 opposition members jailed by TPLF. His Holiness Hailu Shawel is given a “promise” by Woyane that all his request including the release of political prisoners is granted on “paper” That is why Ato Hailu said to the BBC correspondent just after the signing ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel “… this time have changed and …I trust EHADEG”.

    I believe Ato Hailu Shawel is working hard on behalf of the “people” to replace the seating President Girma Wolde-Giorgis so that if Woyane doesn’t keep its promise he could pardon all political prisoners as the new President of the EPRDF regime. Until then lets all admire this “genuine man” who is capable of multitasking his thriving multimillion dollar business while running for the highest public office for “people”.

    I use to think the Three Stooges Movies and Homie the Clawn were funny acts that is until Atse Hailu appeared on the Woyane comedy stage to perform his part. A man who refused to speak directly or shake hands with his former member of Kinijit rushed to shake hands with the TPLF mercenaries who put him behind bars, massacred citizens and gave our land to Sudan. I would prefer slavery than follow such wicked a man.

    Birtukan! You have more grace while seating in prison than those who betrayed the people by signing a death sentence to our struggle in public.

  2. mateos
    | #2

    If there is/are anyone that believes Meles and his boss election will take place in present Ethiopia, democracy will reign in hunger stricken Ethiopians, blood stained weyane mafia families, and sophisticated slaves of the west thugs then they must be retards or cheerleaders of the weyane mafia family beneficiaries. What Meles and his boss Bereket are doing is an escap route from the heinouce crimes they have committed against Ethiopians and to disguise the fate of the innocent politicians, particularly Berukan! Meles and his boss Bereket will be captured by Ethiopians and serve time in the prisons they against others!

  3. Anonymous
    | #3

    What Medrek should have given Reuters as an additional information was the severe pressure it was subjected to by the so called Ethiopia’s Partners group-a collection of Western diplomats with an objective to influence the outcome of the election in favour of a ‘friendly’ regime.

    Medrek felt and repeatedly complained that it was negotiating with two EPRDF teams-one black EPRDF and the other white Euro/American EPRDF.

    The complicity of the group with the regime despite its rhetoric of assisting with the democratic process must therefore be exposed to the Western public as it is preparing us for a Soviet style of election.

  4. Ewnetu
    | #4

    Mr. Malone always sound like the Woyane Ministry of Information. It seems to me he replaced Tsegaye Tadesse as a woyane mole at Reuters. He might as well be a propaganda advisor to genocidal Zenawi.

    On another note, western diplomats have always betrayed Ethiopia since the Italian invasion. Never have they stood with the side of the Ethiopian people in history. And as far as I am concerned it is foolishnes to expect anything positive from these scumbags of the world. All they worry about is how much to profit even from famine. I believe opposition parties must make it known that we will call them accountable and consider them an acomplice to the genocide happening in Ethiopia. We must make it clear that there would be no business for them in Ethiopia when we get our freedom from the united oppressors (Woyane plus Western diplomats). We shall obtain our freedom in the very near future, and we will try them in a court of law, as they are currently trying us at a woyane kangaroo court. No business for England, Germany and France as well as USA in the future democratic Ethiopia. May the Lord be with the Ethiopian people. May the enemies of the people of Ethiopia come to their sense. Amen to that!!

    PS. Zenawi is dying soon from too much khat chewing anyway. Who are they gonna support then?

  5. Ewnetu
    | #5

    Mr. Malone always sounds like the Woyane Ministry of Information. It seems to me he replaced Tsegaye Tadesse as a woyane mole at Reuters. He might as well be a propaganda advisor to genocidal Zenawi.

    On another note, western diplomats have always betrayed Ethiopia since the Italian invasion. Never have they stood with the side of the Ethiopian people in history. And as far as I am concerned it is foolishnes to expect anything positive from these scumbags of the world. All they worry about is how much to profit even from famine. I believe opposition parties must make it known that we will call them accountable and consider them an acomplice to the genocide happening in Ethiopia. We must make it clear that there would be no business for them in Ethiopia when we get our freedom from the united oppressors (Woyane plus Western diplomats). We shall obtain our freedom in the very near future, and we will try them in a court of law, as they are currently trying us at a woyane kangaroo court. No business for England, Germany and France as well as USA in the future democratic Ethiopia. May the Lord be with the Ethiopian people. May the enemies of the people of Ethiopia come to their senses. Amen to that!!

    PS. Zenawi is dying soon from too much khat chewing anyway. Who are they gonna support then?

  6. JIGSA
    | #6

    During 2005 stolen election in ethiopia more than 40,000 inocent ethiopians were rounded up and jailed by WOYANE TPLF UNTIL THIS DAY THEY ARE NOT RELEASED AND ALL ETHIOPIANS MUST ADVOCATE FOR THEIR RELEASE,THOSE PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY HAD DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW.THE OPPOSITION MUST ASK FOR THEIR IMEDIATE RELEASE NOW!!!!!!!!!!

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