Amnesty Int’l welcomes Birtukan release

October 7th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

(London) — Amnesty International today welcomed the Ethiopian government’s release of Birtukan Mideksa, a prisoner of conscience, who was arrested and jailed in 2008:

“Amnesty International is delighted that Birtukan Mideksa has been able to go home to her family. A prisoner of conscience, she was held for nearly two years solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression and association,” said Michelle Kagari, deputy director of the Africa program at Amnesty International. “The authorities must ensure that the right to freedom of expression and association will now be respected and protected.”

The leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) Party was freed from Kaliti prison on Wednesday after serving 21 months of a life sentence. She had been arrested on December 28, 2008, charged with violating the terms of a previous pardon.

Mideksa was first arrested on charges of treason in November 2005 following the May 2005 parliamentary and local elections in which the ruling Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) retained control, yet the opposition alleged electoral fraud.

Demonstrations in the capital Addis Ababa, between June and November 2005, were violently dispersed. Security forces shot dead 187 people and wounded 765 others. At least six police officers were also reported killed.

In November 2005 Mideksa, along with other opposition politicians, parliamentarians, journalists and human rights defenders was charged with treason. She was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.

After nearly 18 months in detention Mideksa and many of her co-accused, were pardoned and released by the government having negotiated an agreement and signed letters of apology.

In November 2008 Mideksa spoke about the process that led to her pardon during a public meeting in Sweden. When she returned to Addis Ababa, the government demanded that she retract her statement, giving her three days to act before her re-arrest.

She did not comply and on 28 December she was re-arrested in Addis Ababa. Shortly afterwards, the Ministry of Justice issued a statement revoking her pardon and re-imposing her original life sentence.

  1. Genet Abebe
    | #1

    I am so happy that Bertukan is released. Congratulations! Bertukan. One thing that amazes me is the release statement by the government(?). Whom are they trying to cheat by including those childish,un true statement. It is so sad and annoying to hear or read that dammn statement.It is confirmed that Melese is ignorant he forced Bertukan to say what she said.”Ye chegerew erguz yagebal” she had no choice. I feel sorry for Ethiopians to have such looser leader. The other stupid wayane, interviewer had the nerve to ask such damn question.”ganoch alekuna menchtoch gan honu” Time will come for all these bandas to pay the price for persecuting innocent people.

  2. Anbese
    | #2

    Amnesty International’s duty, power is based only reporting to media and directly requesting release prisoners to the dictatoral Governers.
    In Ethiopia still now so many Political prisoners suffering in the Fascist weyane custodies.
    We Ethiopian are requesting the Amnesty-International serious action against the Dictatoral Stalinist Weyane regime directly reporting to the United Nation’s security-Council Department.

  3. hanna kebede
    | #3

    Written by:- hanna kebede switherland

    Birtukan is free but What about many political prisoners who are in Kality ?????Ethiopia is in prison.

    we should not forget that there are thousands of innocent people in Ethiopian jails that are being tortured because of their race and/or political ideology. We should keep on fighting for those voiceless brothers and sisters in prison.
    Birtukan said so due to torturing jail experience, what we felt is anger and unity to fight this murderer and generational enemy of Ethiopia- Meles.
    The truth is going to come out eventually. this man is so sadistic and cruel. he thought he is humiliating her and true Ethiopians by forcing her to sign a letter he probably has written himself and say things he wants her to say. That on humiliating others. Psychologists of the world are going to have a field day analysing this one.

    Birtukan’s own apology. she looks frightened. These people are bunch of rapists and killers. He probably thinks he has silenced the people of Ethiopia by silencing her.

    MELES PROVED TO THE WORLD HOW HE IS silly VERY silly AND He thinks, will get him more money yes (Good coverage)

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