Gunilla Carlsson on the arrest of Birtukan Midkessa – Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for International Development Cooperation

January 9th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

On 29 December 2008, Birtukan Midkessa, the chair of the largest opposition coalition in Ethiopia, was arrested and imprisoned by Ethiopian police.


On 29 December 2008, Birtukan Midkessa, the chair of the largest opposition coalition in Ethiopia, was arrested and imprisoned by Ethiopian police.

“The imprisonment of Birtukan Midkessa is a source of great concern, both for her personally and for democratic development in Ethiopia,” says Gunilla Carlsson.

“Scope for democracy and pluralism is shrinking in Ethiopia. The imprisonment of Ms Midkessa and the recently adopted law regulating the activities and funding of NGOs are examples of this negative development,” emphasises Ms Carlsson.

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Birtukan Midkessa was one of the many opposition politicians imprisoned after the parliamentary elections in 2005. She was pardoned and released from prison in the summer of 2007 along with several others. The Ethiopian authorities have announced that Ms Midkessa’s pardon has been withdrawn and that the previously announced ruling on life imprisonment applies. The reason for the withdrawn pardon is said to be statements made by Birtukan Midkessa, including those during her visit to Sweden last autumn.

On 6 January 2009, the Ethiopian parliament adopted a new law regulating the activities of NGOs in Ethiopia. Under this law, NGOs receiving more than 10 per cent of their funding from abroad are not permitted to work in such fields as human rights, gender, the rights of children and people with disabilities, conflict resolution and efforts to make the legal system more effective.

Peter Larsson
Press Secretary to Gunilla Carlsson
work +46 8 405 59 39
cell +46 70 283 95 97
email to Peter Larsson

  1. teodros kiros
    | #1

    I did submit a comment, and it was erased.

  2. | #2

    For those of you that NEVER believed that Legesse Z., Azeb Mesfin, Seyoum Mesfin, Mebrahtu G/hiwot, and the rest of weyane mafia family are the devils of Ethiopia now it should be clear to you. Can you imagine the mother of an innocent child to be imprisoned? For those of you that have children can you imagine the mother of your child or children to be imprisoned? The worst they could do if she committed a heinouce crime against innocent people would be HOUSE ARREST; BUT WHAT CAN I SAY ETHIOPIA AND ETHIOPIANS ARE NOW RULED BY THE MIDGET, LITTLE BRAIN, SCHIZOFRONIC, AND SOPHISTICATED SLAVE OF THE KNOWNS AND UNKNOWNS!

  3. DuDu
    | #3

    To Mateos,
    Ant Shabea your day is over keep Quite.

  4. redsealion
    | #4

    as a victime of the woyanie gang, i know
    that the only way that we ethiopians can get rid of this mafia group is by armed struggle.
    down with meles, down with tribalism and stop the the killing, imprisoning and beating of innocent ethiopians.long live ethiopia and we will bring back our eritrea at whatever cost.

  5. Aba Jaffar Aba Gobbu
    | #5


    We do not need to be surprised by these bloody woyane murderers who have committed genocide, murder and crimes aginst humanity in Ethiopia and Somalia.

    The people of must liberate themselves and cannot wait for help from outside. Theses murderers are armed and financed by the USA and EU. Ethiopians Wake up.

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