Statement of Qeerroo Bilisummaa on Continued Arrest and Conviction of Oromo Students from Various Zones of Oromia
November 16, 2014It is to be recalled that tens of thousands of Oromo nationals in general and Oromo students in particular have been arrested and severely tortured by the TPLF-led Ethiopian regime over the last few months in connection to a series of Oromo student protests which broke out in large scale and spread out throughout Oromia beginning the month of April, 2014. These protests, organized and led by the National Youth Movement for Freedom and Democracy (aka Qeerroo Bilisummaa), are just one incident in a series of continued struggle of the Oromo nation for freedom, democracy, and justice over the last 23 or so years. Hundreds have been gunned down by live bullets by the so called Agazi troops of the regime in the months of April and May, 2014. In addition to those who have been shot and killed during the protests, many have lost their lives in prison cells unable to stand the brutal torture. Many others have simply disappeared. Qeerroo Bilisummaa believes that those who disappeared have been killed and their bodies hidden – a practice repeatedly perpetrated on the Oromo prisoners by this regime.
On July 7, 2014 Qeerroo Bilisummaa has compiled a list of 61 Oromos killed and 903 others rounded up and thrown into jail during the April/May Oromo student protests of universities, colleges, high schools, middle schools and other educational institutions. Our evidence indicates that all those who have been arrested have undergone through intense interrogation which involved severe and brutal torture. Many have lost their lives due to the severe torture. For example, a 2nd year Computer Science Oromo student of Haromaya University, Aslan (Nuradin) Hasan, was killed as a result of extended torture in prison on June 04, 2014. On the same day a 10th grade student, Dawit Wakjira, was arrested and beaten to death in Anfillo district, Qellem Wollega zone. Again on the same day a young high school teacher, Magarsa Abdissa, was beaten and killed in Gulliso Prison, West Wollega zone. The fact that these three young Oromos are known and reported to have been beaten to death on the same day, from different parts of Oromia, is a testimony that prisons in the empire are not safe places under this regime. It has to be noted that many other killings that occurred in the prison cells remained hidden as it is extremely difficult and risky to compile reports of such brutal killings under tight security machinery of the regime.
The arrests and tortures have continued non-stop. More and more are being arrested before those who are in jail are released or brought to court. Many of those who survived the torture will remain incarcerated, without any charge, until they confess the accusations brought against them. On many other prisoners, concocted charges and false witnesses have been prepared and they are brought to the kangaroo court of the regime to pass a long time sentence on them so as to legitimize their prison term. Everybody who pays close attention to how the judicial system of the regime operates knows for sure that the so called “court” of the regime is just a place where a fictitious drama is performed. Qeerroo Bilisummaa believes no justice is expected from the so called “court” of the current Ethiopian regime at any level.
In this brief statement the data collection team of Qeerroo Bilisummaa has compiled a list of 183 Oromos, from 6 different zones of Oromia, mainly students, on which the regime has finalized its trumped up charges in order to pass a “guilty” verdict on these young innocent Oromo students and others and sentence them to several years of prison. The main content of the charges brought against them is “having connection with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)” and “participating on the public protest against the government”. These Oromo students and other Oromo individuals are in addition to several hundreds of prisoners Qeerroo has reported in the last few months and our reports indicate that they are going under severe torture and they are denied food, health care, closing and basic needs to sustain their lives.
Qeerroo Bilisummaa strongly demands that the Ethiopian regime drop all charges against these Oromo nationals and tens of thousands others and release them immediately and unconditionally. We would like to reiterate that we the Oromo youth Qeerroo will not sit and be silent when part of our body is bleeding. The Ethiopian regime should realize that intensifying arrest, torture and killing will only inflame the struggle of the Oromo people for their right. More oppression doesn’t lead to submission. It rather breeds more dissenting voices. We are certain that eventually the Oromo and other oppressed nations and nationalities will bring down this criminal regime and justice and freedom will prevail. Read Full Statement:- Continued Arrest and Conviction of Oromo Students from Various Zones of Oromia