Ethiopian police torture businessman for links to opposition, say rights group

The Associated Press
NAIROBI, Kenya Human rights group Amnesty International accused Ethiopian police Saturday of torturing a leading businessman and said they may have killed three others for distributing an opposition calendar.
Ethiopian officials were not immediately available for comment on the claims.
Amnesty said Alemayehu Fantu, who runs a chain of large supermarkets, is believed to have been subjected to electric shocks after being caught with a calendar containing pictures of jailed opposition leaders and calling for nonviolent civil disobedience to secure their release.
Three other men are believed to have died while being tortured by police, according to London-based Amnesty.
The businessman has appeared in court although has not yet been charged or allowed access to lawyers, Amnesty said.
"There were clear signs that he had been tortured, such as bruises and marks on his feet. Sources indicate he may have received electric shocks," a statement from the group said. "Amnesty International is extremely concerned that Alemayehu Fantu is at risk of further torture in detention."
More than 80 people were killed in violent protests following disputed 2005 elections, which opposition groups claim were rigged and returned the ruling party to power.
Following the disturbances, more than 100 independent journalists, opposition leaders and aid workers were rounded up and are now on trial for treason and attempted genocide. Amnesty has called the defendants "prisoners of conscience who have not used or advocated violence."
In January, Britain withheld US$87 million (€70 million) in aid to Ethiopia's government, redirecting it to humanitarian agencies or local officials, because of concerns about the central government's handling of the unrest.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at10:13 PM


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