European Commission should prevent torture on Yalemzewd

Tim Clarke, Head of Delegation to Ethiopia
Hervé Delphin, Member of the
Cabinet (oversees EC programs in Ethiopia)
Louis Michel, Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian Aid

Human Rights Watch, attn. Peter Takirambudde, Executive Director (Africa Desk)
European Union Office, Amnesty International
Charles Schaefer, Country Specialist for Ethiopia, Amnesty International
European Union Delegation to Ethiopia
Horn of Africa Division, Voice of America
The Guardian newspaper

Dear Mr. Clarke, Mr. Delphin, and Mr. Michel:

I am deeply troubled by the information recently learned that an employee of the European Commission in Ethiopia, Ms. Yalemzewd Bekele has been arrested yesterday by Ethiopian government authorities close to the Ethiopian-Kenyan border. She is being accused of having helped to distribute a calendar calling for nonviolent civil disobedience against repressive practices by the Ethiopian government. Amnesty International recently reported on Ms. Bekele's case and expressed the concern that she is at risk of torture. AI also reported on the confirmed case of severe torture of Mr. Alemayehu Fantu, as well as the deaths resulting from grave torture of three individuals -- all related to the same charge levied against Ms. Bekele. Please see the following links for the above mentioned Amnesty International reports:

I am gravely concerned for Ms. Bekele, a woman lawyer and professional employee of the European Comission for over two years. I strongly urge you to use the full power of your office to ensure that Ms. Bekele be released immediately and unconditionally. I also expect that you will do your utmost to prevent that she be tortured or otherwise ill-treated.

As a major international institution, the European Commission has the moral and legal responsibility to protect its staff from violence committed against them by governments of countries in which it operates. In addition to this responsibility that I hope you take very seriously, I believe that if Ms. Bekele continues to be held in detention of if she in any way is mistreated by government forces, the EC as a whole will incur damage, as the institution may lose the trust of its staff that they would be ensured that their employer will do what is in its power to protect them from physical harm and violence by governments with which the EC conducts business. Furthermore, I believe that the EC will also lose the trust of European citizens, the vast majority of whom would strongly condemn anything other than strong and decisive action by the EC to ensure the physical safety of its staff.

Hewan Zerfu

Next, here are the relevant EC phone numbers, faxes, and emails to contact:

1. Head of Delegation to Ethiopia
Tim Clarke
Tel: +251-11-661 2511
Fax: +251-11-661 2877
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111

2. Member of the Cabinet (oversees EC programs in Ethiopia)
Hervé Delphin
Tel: +32-2-295 1820
Fax: +32-2-292 1485
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111

3. Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
Louis Michel
Tel: +32-2-295 9600 or +32-2-295 2718
Fax: +32-2-292 1485
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111


posted by Ethiounited Moderator at5:33 PM


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