Ethiopia releases detained lawyer

By Amber Henshaw
BBC News, Ethiopia
A European Commission lawyer who was arrested in Ethiopia last week while trying to cross the border into Kenya has been freed without charge.
Yalemzewd Bekele, a human rights activist, spent a week in custody.
Two European diplomats were expelled over the incident - accused of helping to smuggle her out of the country.
Ms Yalemzewd was said to be in good spirits following her release. Amnesty International had previously raised fears that she would be tortured.
Ms Yalemzewd was arrested last Thursday. At the time, the ministry of immigration said she was wanted for what they described as serious crimes.
The two international staff expelled by the Ethiopian government over the incident, Bjorn Jonsson from Sweden and Enrico Sborgi from Italy - were deported without even having time to collect their passports.
The whereabouts of an Ethiopian man arrested in connection with the incident are not known.
Torture fears
Relations between the Ethiopian government and the European Union have been under pressure since the 2005 election.
The European Union's development commissioner Luis Michel warned there would be repercussions.
Head of the EC delegation in Ethiopia Tim Clarke said he had seen Ms Bekele after her release.
"I spent about two hours with her. So far she has not been charged with anything," he said.
Mr Clarke said she seemed fine and that they were delighted that she had been freed.
They said they believed Ms Bekele had been arrested in connection with the publication and distribution of a calendar of action for non-violent civil disobedience by the opposition party the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD).
Following last year's disputed election, key members of the CUD are currently being tried on a number of charges including one of trying to overthrow the government through an armed rebellion.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at6:27 AM


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