Friday, August 16, 2013

Ethiopia: The Justice System Becoming a Political Tool in Ethiopia

HRLHA – Calls for Reversal of Racially and Politically Motivated Sentences
August 15, 2013
Press Release
The Federal High Court of Ethiopia sentenced 21 Oromo Nationals (most of whom are university students) to as much as 2-8 years in prison on 7th August, 2013. The report HRLHA received indicates that all of them have spent about three years pending trials on alleged charges of collaborating with the opposition organization of Oromo Liberation Front with the intention of committing terrorist crimes. According to information obtained by HRLHA through its correspondents, most of the defendants were very young Oromo students picked up at different times from different universities and colleges in the regional state of Oromia and other parts of the country.
The HRLHA has learnt that most of the 21 Oromo defendants did not even have acquaintance of each other, let alone collectively committing terrorist crimes, as they were brought together from different universities in the country and met each other in the jail. According to some legal experts, the fact that the charges were mere fabrications aimed at imposing punishments intended for political intimidations has made it difficult for the accused to defend themselves. However, by blatantly acting as a political tool of the ruling party, the court handed down the guilty verdict on the Oromo nationals without taking into consideration some evidences that the defendants attempted to present to defend themselves against the charges. There are more concerns that particularly five of the twenty one defendants who were charged with additional and separate article (criminal code, article 241,Attack on the Political or Territorial Integrity of the State”, from the sixteen others might face very harsh punishments.
Although this verdict did not come as a surprise, as it is not the first of its kind, it has enormously added to the accumulation of partiality, injustice and unfairness of the justice system, raising further concerns among the human rights groups, and defenders of justice and equality including the HRLHA.
The twenty one alleged convicts are
NoNameYear of sentenceUniversitySex
1Dachassa Wirtu Mosisa8HaromayaM
2Ebissa Ratessa8AmboM
3Getu Saketa Roro8Finfine (Addis Ababa)M
4Diribsa Damte Jote8Finfine(Addis Ababa)M
5Adamu Shiferra8Finfine (Addis Ababa)M
6Sena Merera3Arba MinchM
7Silashi Sori3HaromayaM
8Abdisa Gudeta3 1/4Mada WalabuM
9Miressa H/Yesus3Finfine (College student)M
10Abdi Dereje4WallegaM
11Deme Zerhun4Finfine (College Student)M
12Alemayehu Regassa3HawasaM
13Shafi Said3JimmaM
14Dagim Bekele3AdamaM
13Lami Jirata4Teacher (Finfine)M
14Birhanu Imiru4Teacher(Kotobe Coolege)M
15Alemu Teshome Jirata3Journalist (Finfine)M
16Shashe Said3_F
17Getachew Abera3Wallaga (Shambu)M
18Dereje Getu3-M
19Jirenya Dessaleg n3_M
20Lemi Wegga4TeacherM
21Alemu Teshome3_M

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa calls up on the Ethiopian Government to reverse this unfair verdict and unconditionally release the prisoners. It also calls up on all local, regional, and international activists of justice and human rights defenders to jointly raise their voices against such racial partialities and injustices so that the Ethiopian Government refrain from inappropriately using the justice system as a weapon of punishment and intimidation for political gains
Mailed To:
Office of Prime Minister of Ethiopia
P.O.Box – 1031 , Addis Ababa
Telephone – +251 155 20 44; +251 111 32 41
Fax – +251 155 20 30 , +251 1552020
Office of Oromiya National Regional State President Office
Telephone –   0115510455
Office of the Ministry  of Justice of Ethiopia
PO Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Fax: +251 11 5517775; +251 11 5520874
UNESCO Headquarters Paris.
7, place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP France
1, rue Miollis 75732 Paris Cedex 15 France
General phone:
+33 (0)1 45 68 10 00
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)- Africa Department
7 place Fontenoy
Paris 07 SP
General phone:
+33 (0)1 45 68 10 00
UNESCO Office in Abuja
Mail: j.ngu(at)
Tel: +251 11 5445284
Fax: +251 11 5514936
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for urgent matters)
E-mail: this e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You
need JavaScript enabled to view it
Office of the UNHCR
Telephone: 41 22 739 8111
Fax: 41 22 739 7377
Po Box: 2500
Geneva, Switzerland
African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights (ACHPR)
48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul, The Gambia.
Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23 Fax: (220) 4390 764
Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
+ 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21
+ 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53
Contact us by email:
U.S. Department of State
Tom Fcansky – Foreign Affairs Officer
Email:->Washington, D.C. 20037
Tel: +1-202-261-8009
Fax: +1-202-261-8197
Amnesty International – London
Claire Beston
“Claire Beston”,
Human Rights Watch
Felix Hor
“Felix Horne”

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