AI: Supporters Of The Opposition, Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) Party, tortured in detention

Amnesty International
Amnesty International has released a report on Thursday claiming that over 60 officials or alleged supporters of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) party in Ethiopia, arrested in different parts of the country, have been detained incommunicado since mid-December 2006 or early 2007. Several have been released but there have also been further arrests. There have been further reports that some of the detainees have been tortured in detention.
Specific cases cited in the Amnesty report includes several detainees Fear of torture or ill-treatment/incommunicado detention
Endalkachew Melese (m), aged 23,
studentDaniel Hailemariam (m)
Hirut Kifle (f)
Menbere Tsegaye (m)
Tadesse Zenebe (m) – corrected name, aged 34, tyre factory security guard
And some 60 other supporters of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy
Released: Saba Mekonnen (f)
Tigist Tilahun (f)
Fantaye Beyene (m)
New names: Alemayehu Seifu (m)
Tilahun Ayele (m), teacher
Yonas Getachew (m) Gedlu Ayele (m), army lieutenant
Wubitu Mosha (f), aged 36, detained with her four-year-old son
Amnesty International finds All the detainees have been taken to court in the capital, Addis Ababa and remanded in custody while police conduct investigations, but none of them has yet been formally charged with a specific offence. Most are still held at the police Central Investigation Bureau (known as Maikelawi) in Addis Ababa but several were transferred to Kera police station in the Kirkos suburb of Addis Ababa. Five of those transferred were identified as Alemayehu Seifu, Tilahun Ayele, Yonas Getachew, Tadesse Zenebe and Gedlu Ayele. A mother, Wubitu Mosha, detained with her four year old son, is among the detainees. All the detainees have been denied access to relatives and lawyers, and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
New reports claim that several detainees have been beaten by police. According to sources, the detainees were accused of links with a little-known armed opposition group in northern Ethiopia, the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF). Alleged confessions by Tadesse Zenebe, Alemayehu Seifu, Tilahun Ayele, Yonas Getachew and Gedlu Ayele, at least one of whom had facial injuries, were broadcast on state television in late February. The authorities have claimed that these detainees had links with an alleged violent conspiracy mounted by the Eritrean government in the unresolved aftermath of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border conflict of 1998-2000. In a media interview, the Ethiopia's Federal Police Commissioner denied that the detainees whose confessions were broadcast had been tortured, saying that torture is illegal in Ethiopia. He wrongly accused Amnesty International of publishing a fake torture photograph supposedly related to one of the detainees. It had been posted briefly on a website based outside Ethiopia before it was identified as a photograph from East Timor, but it had never been published or endorsed by Amnesty International.
Amnesty International fears that some of the detainees may have been arrested in account of their peaceful activities in support of the CUD, and others on account of statements made as a result of torture or other unsubstantiated evidence of violent opposition.

Seventy-six CUD leaders, journalists and civil society activists are currently on trial for capital charges including treason and armed conspiracy arising from the 2005 elections, which led to demonstrations in June and November 2005 which turned violent. Soldiers and police killed 193 demonstrators and six police officers were killed by mobs. On 23 March the trial judges are due to rule on whether the accused have a case to answer, following the completion of the prosecution case. Most of the accused refused to defend themselves as they did not consider they would receive a fair trial. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience who have not used or advocated violence (see UA 284/05, AFR 25/017/2005, 02 November 2005, and follow-ups).

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at10:30 PM


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