SOCEPP Canada condemns the conviction of journalists & Leaders of the Opposition.
On January 19, 2012, the EPRDF/TPLF controlled Federal High Court in Ethiopia convicted three Ethiopian journalists, an opposition leader and a fifth person under the so-called an anti-terrorism law. The journalists are Wubshet Taye Abebe of the now-closed weekly newspaper – Awramba Times, Reeyot Alemu Gobebo of the weekly newspaper – Feteh, and Elias Kifle, editor of the online Ethiopian Review (tried in absentia), an opposition leader, Zerihun Gebre-Egziabher Tadesse of the Ethiopian National Democratic Party, and a woman named Hirut Kifle Woldeyesus.
SOCEPP Canada maintains that the continued incarceration and conviction of leaders of the opposition, journalists and citizens is a travesty of justice that must be condemned in the strongest possible way.
As we have repeatedly reported in the past, the TPLF/EPRDF regime has used the justice system to silence independent voices, political opponents and free media. To name a few of the many subjected to the ruling junta’s abuse of human rights include: the renowned surgeon and founder of the AAPO – Prof. Asrat Woldeyes, the former leader of the opposition UDJ – Betrukan Mideksa, the former leader of the Ethiopian Teachers’ Association – Dr Taye Woldesemayat, and Mr . Abera Yemane Ab – leadership member of COEDF.
This latest travesty only shows that even after 20 years of mockery of justice, the ruling TPLF/ EPRDF has no intention of reforming the justice system, introduce professionalism within the legal system and within its law enforcement agencies. Such behavior is unacceptable both to the Ethiopian public and the international community.
The ruling group continues to use all means at its disposal to stifle the justice system hoping this would go unnoticed. However, more and more Ethiopians are showing the willingness to pay the highest sacrifice to secure their dignity and basic human rights. As witnessed on November 11, 2011, a teacher by the name Yenesew Gebre, of Waka, Southern Ethiopia, burnt himself to death in protest. As one of the greatest leaders in Africa – Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires”. That is exactly what Ethiopians have and continue to be doing the last so many years.
We would like to remind the rulers in Ethiopia that repression only begets resistance. The way forward is to respect human rights engage in a genuine reconciliation to bring a lasting peace in the country and submit to the people’s verdict. Therefore, we call upon the ruling EPRDF/TPLF regime to immediately drop the case, release the defendants and refrain from further violation.
We call upon the government of Canada and the opposition parties and other donor governments to closely review the escalating repression in Ethiopia and use their influence to bring a lasting peace in that country.
SOCEPP Canada: www.humanrightsethiopia.com