FREEDOM 4 ALL ETHIOPIANS

FREEDOM,DEMOCRACY.JUSTICE.AND UNITY FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS …by DANIEL TESFAYE

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

ይድረስ ‘ለጆን ኬሪ’፣ የእኔን ኑሮ ሳያዩ እንዳይመለሱ

ይድረስ ‘ለጆን ኬሪ’፣ የእኔን ኑሮ ሳያዩ እንዳይመለሱ

April 30, 2014

ይድረስ…. ከእናት ሀገራችን ቀጥሎ አባት ሀገር ከሆነችን አሜሪካ ለምትመጣው ‘ጆን ኬሪ’….John Forbes Kerry current United States Secretary of State.

ለጤናህ እንደ ምንድን ነህ…

ባገራችን ባህል መሰረት የማተዋወቁ ሰዎች ሲገናኙ ሰላምታ ስለሚለዋወጡ እንጂ አንተስ ደህና እንደሆንክ አውቅ ነበር…

የአለምን ድህነት ሆነ ብልጽግና ቁልቁል የምተመለከትበት ነጩ ቤት (Whitehouse) ውስጥ ሆነህ ምን ትሆንና…

ብቻ አገራችን ልትመጣ አየር ላይ መሆንህን ሰማሁ….

ካገራችን ዘርፈ ብዙ ችጋር የተነሳ ውሀ የተሞላበት ጄሪካን፣ 24 ሰዓት የሚያበራ ባትሪ፣ ኢንተርኔት ያለው ላፕቶፕና፣ ኔትወርክ ያለው ስልክ…ይዘህ እንደምትመጣ አያይዤ ሰማሁ…

ኸረ እንደውም ሌላ ሊያጋጥምት የሚችልን ችግር ንገረኝ አይበሉኝ እንጂ….

የለበሷት “ቶክሲዶ” ሱፍ አገራችንን መሬት ገና እንደረገጡ ወደ አምባሳደር ሱፍነት እንደምትለወጥ ጥርጥር የለኝም….

ብቻ ሁሉ ይቅርና እንኳን ደህና መጡ ….

የቤተ መንግስት ሰዎች እርሶን ለመቀበል ሽር ጉድ እያሉ ነው፡፡ ትላንት እርሶ ባወጡት አመታዊ ሪፖርት ምክንያት ጠልተዎት አይኖን ላፈር ያሉ፤ ቢሆንላቸው እንደሌሎች ጋዜጠኞች እና ጦማሪያን እርሶንም ቢያስሩ ደስ የሚላቸው…

ሰሞኑን ምን አግኝተው ይሁን ወይም ምን ቃል ገብተውላቸው እንደሆነ ባላውቅም…. በየመንገዱ ባንዲራዎች ተሰቅለዋል፣ መንገድ ጠራጊዎች የቦሌን አስፓልት በኦሞ ዘፍዝፈው ማጠብ ነው የቀራቸው. ቤተመንግስት ከዚህ በላይ እንደሚጠብቆዎ የወጣው ሪፖርት ያሳያል….

ኸረ እንደውም አሉባልታ ነው እንጂ ፤ ከቤተ መንግስቱ በር ጀምሮ ጥቃቅንና አነስተኞች ሀ/ማርያም ቢሮ ድረስ አዝለው እንደሚያደርሶው ሰምቻለሁ….

ብቻ ይሁን እንኳንም ይህ ሁሉ ተደረገልዎ….

እኔ የሚያሰጋኝ ይህ ሁሉ ሽር ጉድ የመጡበትን ሀሳብ እንዳያስቀይሮት እና… የታሰሩ የህሊና አስረኞችን፣ አሸባሪ ጦማሪያኑን ደግሞ አመጸኞች እንዳይሏቸው ነው…..

እንዲሁም እኔን መተው ሳያዩ… አገሪቷ በኢኮኖሚ አድጋለች አሜሪካ ላይ ለመድረስ ትንሽ ነው የቀራት እንዳይሉን አደራ እላለሁ፡፡..

እርሶ ብቻ እቤቴ ይምጡ…

አገሪቷ ያለችበትን ድህነት ገና እቤቴ ሳይገቡ ሊወድቅ ትንሽ የቀረው የጊቢዬ አጥር ይነግሮታል….

ጆን ኬሪ…

እንደው የእረሶ አለቃ የሆኑት ፕሬዝዳንት ባራክ ኦባማ በአንድ ወቅት አንድ ገበሬ ኢንተርቪው አድርገው ‹‹ገበሬው እየተለወጠ እንደሆነ ነግሮኛል ይሄም ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ምን ያህል ለውጥ እንዳለ ይህ ማሳያ ይሆናል›› ብለው እንደዘባረቁት እርሶም እንዳይዘባርቁ እለምኖታለሁ…

በመጨረሻም አንድ ቃል ልግባሎት….

እርሶ የብዙ ጭቁን ህዝቦች አጋር ሆነው፣ ለምናደርገው የነጻነት ጉዞ የጀርባ ስንቅ ሆነው…

ፍትህ፣ እኩልነት ፣ ሰብዓዊነት የምትታይበት አገራችን እንድትፈጠር ከረዱን….

የእርሶንና የአገርዎን ስም ልቤ ላይ እንደምነቀስ ቃል እገባሎታለሁ፡፡

‹‹የመጡት ኢትዮጵያ ነውና ኢትዮጵያን ይመልከቱ ባለስልጣናቱን ሳይሆን…››

…………………………..አክባሪዎ አቤል ኤፍሬም

posted by Daniel tesfaye

 

Zone 9 bloggers must be immediately and unconditionally released

30 April 2014
ARTICLE 19 

 ARTICLE 19

ARTICLE 19 condemns the arrest of 6 ‘Zone 9′ bloggers and 3 freelance journalists in Ethiopia, all of whom have been charged with working with foreign organisations that claim to be human rights activists and receiving finance to incite public violence through social media. The journalists and activists should be immediately and unconditionally released. Furthermore, we urge United States Secretary of State John Kerry, who will be visiting Ethiopia on 29 April to prompt the Ethiopian government to release all bloggers, activists and journalists that have been arbitrarily detained.

 

The arrests came two days after Zone 9 – an independent collective of bloggers who use social media to campaign against political repression – announced their return to activism. Zone 9 had temporarily suspended activities following a period of heightened surveillance and harassment, and the timings of these arrests appear to be a direct attempt to silence their legitimate work and activism.

The six bloggers; Atnaf Berahane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, Befeqadu Hailu, Zelalem Kiberet, Abel Wabela, and 3 journalists; Edom Kassaye, Tesfalem Weldeyes and Asmamaw Hailegorgis of Addis Gudaymagazine, were arrested on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 April and are being held at Maekelawi detention centre in Addis Ababa.

“These charges are yet more evidence of Ethiopia’s slide towards a complete disregard for human rights. The fact that the bloggers and journalists were hauled to court on a Sunday with no legal representation shows the government’s determination to convict them on trumped up charges,” noted Henry Maina, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Director.

“Coming just a few days before Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations and as the country gears up for the May 2015 elections, these arrests send a chilling message that alternative voices are not allowed in the country” added Maina. “We demand their immediate and unconditional release and further urge the Ethiopian government to stop intimidating and harassing journalists and activists.”

In its submission to the UPR, ARTICLE 19 noted that Ethiopia has mostly failed to comply with the recommendations that they accepted during the 2009 review, and the situation for freedom of expression and information has deteriorated rather than improved. State delegates must therefore seize this chance to ask Ethiopia’s government to respect its obligations of protecting and promoting freedom of expression. Specifically, we urge the State parties to call upon the Ethiopian government to stop intimidating, harassing, arresting and detaining journalists, including the Zone 9 group.

On 3 April, Ethiopian immigration officials detained a member of staff from ARTICLE 19′s East Africa office for 29 hours, without access to legal advice or consular support. He was thereafter deported back to Kenya and warned that he would face jail if he returned. ARTICLE 19 was one of the last remaining international human rights organisations working in Ethiopia and providing independent information to the UN Human Rights Council.

WHAT OTHER IFEX MEMBERS ARE SAYING
  • Ethiopia arrests journalists, bloggers: At least nine people rounded up in crackdown ahead of visit by top U.S. envoy 

    “The Ethiopian authorities seem determined to crush any independent source of information, be it in print or online, and local, regional and international press freedom groups have so far failed to halt the ongoing harassment,” IPI Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi said. “There needs to be concerted international pressure from Ethiopia’s donors and partners, including the European Union and the United States, to end the abuse and to pressure the Ethiopian leaders to respect their constitutional and international obligations to respect fundamental rights of media freedom.”

    International Press Institute 28 April 2014

  • Ethiopia: Arrests Upstage Kerry Visit 

    Sources told Human Rights Watch that one of the bloggers and one of the journalists have been regularly approached, including at home, by alleged intelligence agents and asked about the work of the group and their alleged links to political opposition parties and human rights groups. The blogger was asked a week before their arrest of the names and personal information of all the Zone9 members.

    Human Rights Watch 28 April 2014

  • Nine news providers arrested on charge of inciting violence 

    “Jailing journalists and bloggers has the effect of nipping democratic development in the bud. At a time when the situation in Ethiopia is about to be the subject of a Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council, we urge the government to respect its national and international obligations to guarantee freedom of information.”

    Reporters Without Borders 29 April 2014

  • posted by Daniel tesfaye

Ethiopian authorities lie about crackdown against free speech

Ethiopian authorities lie about crackdown against free speech

Ethiopian authorities lie about crackdown against free speech

April 29, 2014

AFP – Ethiopia said Tuesday several people had been arrested on charges of “serious criminal activities”, but rights groups identified those detained as journalists and bloggers targeted in a sweeping crackdown against free speech.Ethiopian  bloggers known as "Zone 9" arrested

“They are suspected of some serious crimes, and the police are investigating,” government spokesman Getachew Reda told AFP, without providing details of the alleged crimes.

The journalists and a group of bloggers known as “Zone 9″ were arrested last week, prompting an outcry from rights groups.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the arrests “one of the worst crackdowns against free expression” in the country, while Amnesty International said it was part of a “long trend of arrests and harassment of human rights defenders, activists, journalists and political opponents.”

Leslie Lefkow of Human Rights Watch said the “arrests signal, once again, that anyone who criticises the Ethiopian government will be silenced”, and called for their immediate release.

The arrests come ahead of a visit this week by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“The timing of the arrests — just days before the US Secretary of State’s visit — speaks volumes about Ethiopia’s disregard for free speech,” Lefkow added.

The bloggers Zone 9 website, reportedly named after the prison where political detainees are held, listed the names of nine people arrested, saying they were charged with having worked with foreign human rights activists to foment violence or instability.

But the government dismissed the rights groups, and said those arrested were not detained for their work as journalists.

“We don’t take orders from Human Rights Watch,” Getachew said.

– Free speech ‘a crime’ –

An opposition group staged a protest on Sunday following the arrests, calling for “greater liberties and a true democracy” in Ethiopia, but police shut the 200-person demonstration down soon after it started.

HRW said 20 members of the political opposition Semayawi or “Blue” party have also been arrested since Friday, although there has been no official confirmation of exact numbers.

“With the latest arrests, Ethiopian authorities are turning the peaceful exercise of free expression into a crime,” the CPJ’s Tom Rhodes said in a statement.

Amnesty said the group had only restarted blogging last week after suspending their work for the past six months, accusing the government of harassment.

Ethiopia has been accused of cracking down on independent media and has doled out several heavy sentences for journalists charged under the controversial anti-terror legislation, which rights groups have called vague and far-reaching.

“With still a year to go before the general elections, the Ethiopian government is closing any remaining holes in its iron grip on freedom of speech, opinion and thought in the country,” said Amnesty’s Claire Beston.

In 2011, two Swedish journalists were sentenced to 11 years in jail under the law, but were later pardoned after serving 15 months.

Ethiopia has one of the most closed press environments in the world, the CPJ says. It calculates that at least 49 journalists have been forced into exile, the third worst after Somalia and Iran.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

አንዷለም አራጌ እና የቃሊቲው ህይወት

አንዷለም-አራጌ-እና-የቃሊቲው-ህይወት/አንዷለም-አራጌ-እና-የቃሊቲው-ህይወት/
fe236-andualem-aragie5b15d
(EMF) – አንዷለም አራጌ የአንድነት ፓርቲ አመራር አባል የነበረ ወጣት ነው። በኋላ ላይ የኢህ አዴግ ሰዎች ባቀናበሩት ድራማ አሸባሪ ተብሎ ለእስር ተዳረገ። ቃሊቲ በእስር ላይ ሆኖ ብቻውን በጨለማ ቤት ውስጥ ከመታሰር ጀምሮ ብዙ እንግልት እና መከራን እየተቀበለ ይገኛል። ይህ ሁሉ የሆነው አንዷለም በተቃዋሚው ጎራ በመቆሙ ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ ጎበዝ መሪ በመሆኑም ጭምር ነው። አሁን በ እስር ላይ ሆኖም እንኳን፤ ስሜቱን ለመጉዳት ሲባል እሱን ለመጠየቅ የሚሄዱ ጠያቂዎች ይዋከባሉ፤ እንዲጠይቁትም አይፈቀድላቸውም።

ከትላንት በስትያ አንዷለምን ለመጠየቅ ወደ እስር ቤት ያመሩት፤ ብቸኛው የፓርላማ ውስጥ ተቃዋሚ ክቡር አቶ ግርማ ሰይፉ ትዝብታቸውን ገልጸዋል። የአቶ ግርማ ትዝብት “አንዱዓለምን ለመጠየቅ ቃሊቲ ጎራ ብዬ ነበር፡፡” በማለት ይጀምሩና በአንዷለም ላይ እየደረሰ ያለውን እንግልት በዝርዝር ገልጸውታል። እንዲህ በማለት ይቀጥላሉ አቶ ግርማ….

አንዱዓለም እንደተለመደው በጠንካራ ሞራልና ለሰው ልጅ ክብር በሚሰጠው መንፈሱ ላይ ምንም ለውጥ አይታይም፡፡ የሚበድሉትን ቢሆን ለምን? ብሎ ይጠይቃል እንጂ የበቀለኝነት ሰሜት የለበትም፡፡ ነገር ግን በፍፁም ተሰፋ እያሰቆረጠው ምን አልባት ወደ ርሃብ አድማ ሊገፋኝ ይችላል ብሎ የሰጋው ከብዙ ሺ ከሚቆጠሩ እሰረኞች በተለየ ሁኔታ የሚሰተናገድበት አያያዝ ምቾት አልሰጠውም፡፡ መብቱን እያስደፈረ እንደሆነ ይሰማዋል፡፡

እሱን ለመጠየቅ ከባለቤቱ እና ከእኔ በስተቀር ይህን ሁሉ ኪሎ ሜትር አቋርጠው የመጡ ሰዎችን እየመለሱ ችግር እየፈጠሩበት እንደሆነ ነግሮኛል፡፡ ማንም ጠያቂ እርሱ እንዲጠይቅ አይፈቀድለትም፡፡ ይህ ደግሞ ፌዝ የሚሆነው ለእርሱ ደህንነት ብለን ነው የሚሉት መልስ ነው፡፡ በተለይ ትላንት ምሽት ድንገት በተደረገ ብረበራ ከማረሚያ ቤቱ ላይብረሪ ተውሶ ሲያነባቸው ከነበሩተ መፅኃፎች ላይ የያዛቸውን ማስታወሻዎች በሙሉ ወስደውበታል፡፡ በማረሚያ ቤቱ ደንብ ላይ ይህ ክልከላ ስለመኖሩ ጠይቄው የማረሚያ ቤቱን ደንብና መመሪያ እንዲሰጡኝ ከጠየቅሁ ስድሰት ወር ያለፈ ቢሆንም እስከ አሁን እንዳልሰጡት ነግሮኛል፡፡

ማረሚያ ቤቱ ከህገ መንግሰት በተቃራኒ የሆነ መመሪያ የማውጣት መብትም የለውም፡፡ በነገራችን ላይ የአንዱዓለም ጠያቂዎች እንዳይጎበኙት የተጣለበትን ክልከላ አምሳደር ጥሩነህ ዜናም እንደሚያውቁት ነገር ግን ይህ መመሪያ ስለሆነ እንደሆነ ገልፀውልኝ፣ መመሪያው ከህገመንግሰት ጋር የሚጋጭ ነገር ካለው እንደሚያዩት መደበኛ ባልሆነ ውይይት ገልፀውልኝ ነበር፡፡ አንድ እስረኛ በተለየ ሁኔታ በዘመድ አዝማድ ጓደኛ እንዳይጠየቅ ገደብ ለምን እንደሚደረግበት ሊገባኝ ባይችልም፡፡ ማረሚያ ቤቱ ውስጥ ከመደበኛው በተለይ የሚደረጉ ተግባራትን ተዉ የሚል ያለ አይመስልም፡፡

አንዱዓለም ቃሊቲ ከገባ ጀምሮ በልዩ ቅጣት ክፍል የሚገኝ ሲሆን በዚህ ክፍልም ልዩ ጥበቃ ይደረግበታል፡፡ አንዱዓለም የሚላኩለት መፅሃፎች በጊዜው እንደማይገቡለትና ከተላከለት ስምንት መፅሃፍ ውስጥ 2 አይገባም ከተባለ በኋላ ወደ ቤተሰቦቹም አለመመለሱንም ገልጾልኛል፡፡ ለክፉም ለደጉ አንዱዓለም ለመጉዳት የሚንቀሳቀሱ የመንግሰት ኃላፊዎችም ሆኖ ልወደድ ባይ የማረሚያ ቤት ሹሞች ከዚህ ተግባራቸው ቢቆጠቡ ጥቅሙ የጋራ ነው፡፡ አንዱዓለም ሰርቆ ወይም ሀገር ከድቶ አይደለም በእስር ላይ የሚገኘው፡፡ ለሀገሩ ነፃነት የድርሻዬን እውጣለሁ ብሎ በሰላማዊ መንገድ ሲንቀሳቀስ ይህ ዜጋ ለወንበራችን ጠር ነው ብለው በፈሩ እና በሀሰት በወነጀሉት አካላት ምክንያት ነው፡፡ ሌቦችን ወንጀለኞች እንደፈለጉ በሚሆኑበት እስር ቤት ጀግኖችን ማሰቃየት ማንገላታ አሁንም ፍርሃታቸው እንዳለቀቃቸው ከማሳየት ውጭ አንዱዓለምን መንፈስ እንደማይጎዳው እርግጠኛ ነኝ፡፡ የአሳሪዎቹን በቀለኝነት ግን ቁልጭ አድርጎ ያሳያል፡፡
posted by Daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia jails nine journalists, renews crackdown on the press (CPJ)

Ethiopia jails nine journalists, renews crackdown on the press (CPJ)

 

APRIL 29,2014

Nairobi, April 28, 2014The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the Ethiopian government’s arrests of nine journalists in one of the worst crackdowns against free expression in the country.

“With the latest arrests, Ethiopian authorities are turning the peaceful exercise of free expression into a crime,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes.

On Sunday, a public prosecutor in the capital, Addis Ababa, accused the detainees-editorAsmamaw Hailegeorgis, freelancers Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye, and bloggers Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, and Befekadu Hailu-of working with foreign human rights organizations and using social media to create instability in the country, according to news reports and local journalists. Tesfalem, Asmamaw, and Zelalem will have their next court hearing on May 7, while the rest will appear in court onMay 8, the same sources said. The journalists have not been formally charged with a crime.

The bloggers are members of an independent collectivecalled Zone 9, which publishes news and commentary, according to news reports. Formed in May 2012 in response to the evisceration of the independent press and the narrowing of the space for free expression, the group’s name is derived from Kality Prison, the main jail where Ethiopia’s political prisoners, including several journalists, are held, reports said. With the motto “We Blog Because We Care,” the group has voiced concerns over domestic issues, including political repression and social injustice. The Zone 9 blogs were frequently blocked inside Ethiopia, but gained a following with Ethiopians in the diaspora, according to local reports.

The arrests follow an April 23 announcement on Facebook by the bloggers in which they said they would resume publishing after seven months of inactivity. They had suspended publishing after being harassed by security agents, according to the blog. The day before their arrest, security agents allegedly ordered Natnail to hand over contact details of all Zone 9 members, a request he refused, local journalists told CPJ.

Local journalists said the other detainees-Asmamaw, a senior editor of the private Amharic weekly news magazine Addis Guday, and freelancers Tesfalem and Edom-may have been arrested on suspicion of being affiliated with the Zone 9 journalists.  Edom had been approached on several occasions and asked about her relationship to the other Zone 9 journalists and the support they received from outside organizations, the same sources said.

“These are not journalists. Their arrest has nothing to do with journalism, but with serious criminal activities,” Getachew Reda, an adviser to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, told Reuters. “We don’t crack down on journalism or freedom of speech. But if someone tries to use his or her profession to engage in criminal activities, then there is a distinction there.”

“We call on Ethiopian authorities to halt their slide into paranoia and authoritarianism, and instead to allow critical commentary and public debate to thrive,” said CPJ’s Rhodes. “These nine journalists should be released immediately.”

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal did not immediately return CPJ’s repeated calls for comment.

The journalists, who were arrested in multiple raids on Friday and Saturday, have been denied access to their family and lawyers and are being held at the Maekelawi federal detention center, according to local journalists. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, interrogators at Maekelawi routinely use torture to extract false confessions from detainees. The Ethiopian government denies the allegations.

CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

POSTED BY DANIEL TESFAYE

Ethiopia should immediately release bloggers (HRW)

Ethiopia should immediately release bloggers (HRW)

Ethiopia should immediately release bloggers (HRW)

April 28, 2014

Human Rights Watch

(Nairobi) – The Ethiopian authorities should immediately release six bloggers and three journalists arrested on April 25 and 26, 2014, unless credible charges are promptly brought. Human Rights Watch on Ethiopia

United States Secretary of State John Kerry, who is scheduled to visit Ethiopia beginning April 29, should urge Ethiopian officials to unconditionally release all activists and journalists who have been arbitrarily detained or convicted in unfair trials. The arrests also came days before Ethiopia is scheduled to have its human rights record assessed at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review in Geneva on May 6.

“The nine arrests signal, once again, that anyone who criticizes the Ethiopian government will be silenced,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “The timing of the arrests – just days before the US secretary of state’s visit – speaks volumes about Ethiopia’s disregard for free speech.”

On the afternoon of April 25, police in uniform and civilian clothes conducted what appeared to be a coordinated operation of near-simultaneous arrests. Six members of a group known as the “Zone9” bloggers – Befekadu Hailu, Atnaf Berahane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kibret, and Abel Wabela – were arrested at their offices and in the streets. Tesfalem Weldeyes, a freelance journalist, was also arrested during the operation. Edom Kassaye, a second freelance journalist, was arrested on either April 25 or 26; the circumstances of her arrest are unclear but all eight individuals were apparently taken to Maekelawi Police Station, the federal detention center in Addis Ababa, the capital.

The police searched the bloggers and journalists’ offices and homes, reportedly with search warrants, and confiscated private laptops and literature. On April 26, another journalist, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis of Addis Guday newspaper, was also arrested and is reportedly detained in Maekelawi.

The detainees are currently being held incommunicado. On the morning of April 26, relatives were denied access to the detainees by Maekelawi guards, and only allowed to deposit food.

Human Rights Watch released a report in October 2013 documenting serious human rights abuses, including torture and other ill-treatment,unlawful interrogation tactics, and poor detention conditions in Maekelawi against political detainees, including journalists. Detainees at Maekelawi are seldom granted access to legal counsel or their relatives during the initial investigation phase.

The Zone9 bloggers have faced increasing harassment by the authorities over the last six months. Sources told Human Rights Watch that one of the bloggers and one of the journalists have been regularly approached, including at home, by alleged intelligence agents and asked about the work of the group and their alleged links to political opposition parties and human rights groups. The blogger was asked a week before their arrest of the names and personal information of all the Zone9 members. The arrests on April 25, 2014, came two days after Zone9 posted a statement on social media saying they planned to increase their activism after a period of laying low because of ongoing intimidation.

A Human Rights Watch report in March described the technologies used by the Ethiopian government to conduct surveillance of perceived political opponents, activists, and journalists inside the country and among the diaspora. It highlights how the government’s monopoly over all mobile and Internet services through its sole, state-owned telecom operator, Ethio Telecom, facilitates abuse of surveillance powers.

Kerry is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom in Addis Ababa “to discuss efforts to advance peace and democracy in the region.” Kerry should strongly urge the Ethiopian government to end arbitrary arrests, release all activists and journalists unjustly detained or convicted, and promptly amend draconian laws on freedom of association and terrorism that have frequently been used to justify arbitrary arrests and political prosecutions. The Obama administration has said very little about the need for human rights reforms in Ethiopia.

“Secretary Kerry should be clear that the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on media and civil society harms ties with the US,” Lefkow said.  “Continued repression in Ethiopia cannot mean business as usual for Ethiopia-US relations.”

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Force Secretary Kerry to support democracy in Ethiopia

April 28, 2014

In America, they say  “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” meaning those who make the biggest noise, are the ones most likely to get attention. Secretary Kerry forced Hailemariam Desalegn to drop the anti-Homosexual legislation and Hailemariam blinked. This shows the power of the U.S. in influencing policy in Ethiopia. Tell Secretary Kerry to tell Hailemariam to respect the right of all Ethiopians not just homosexuals.Secretary Kerry forced Hailemariam Desalegn to drop the anti-Homosexual legislation

Secretary Kerry is leaving for Ethiopia and a few other African countries on Tuesday, please raise your voice by calling the following numbers about the plight of our people.

The U.S. for decades supported the immoral racist regime or the Apartheid system (akin to Killel) in South Africa, until the pressure and the noise got too hot for them to justify it. Of course, the U.S. knew for certain that Apartheid was wrong, but they justified it based on their own national interest.

The same thing is going on in Ethiopia. The U.S. based on congressional testimony, State Department reports knows the illegitimate and illegal nature of this regime, but they are not putting any heat on them because we have not pushed the State Department hard enough to hear our voice or we did not make enough noise or lobby them effectively.

Like its support for Apartheid regime, the U.S. will align with Woyanes until we put enough pressure on them. Of course, making phone calls is one of them, but we have to align enough congressional and public support in the U.S. to expose their immoral and expedient nature at the expense of the Ethiopian people.

In the meantime, so please call the White House and the State Department, as well as the congressional members. Please ask the Congressional members to immediately write a letter to Secretary Kerry and put out a press release condemning U..S. support of the Woyane, ethnocentric, and anti democratic regime and for the release of all political prisoners. You can also contact us at eth.democracy@gmail.com to learn  about forming a robust lobby to put pressure on the U.S. and to force it change course.

Here are important congressional contacts to press Kerry to address the plight of our people:

Congressman Chris Smith:        202-225-3765

Congressman Ed Royce:              (202) 225-4111

Senator Patrick Leahy                    202-224-4242

Secretary John Kerry     202-647-4000 or TTY:1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay Service).

The White House : 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414by Dula

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Multiple arrests in major crackdown on government critics

April 26/2014
The Ethiopian government is tightening its suffocating grip on freedom of expression in a major crackdown which has seen the arrest of numerous independent, critical and opposition voices over the last two days, said Amnesty International.
Six members of an independent blogger and activist group and a freelance journalist were arrested yesterday 25 April. Another journalist was arrested this morning. Meanwhile 20 members of the political opposition Semayawi (Blue) party have been arrested since Thursday.
“These arrests appear to be yet another alarming round up of opposition or independent voices” said Claire Beston, Ethiopia researcher at Amnesty International.
“This is part of a long trend of arrests and harassment of human rights defenders, activists, journalists and political opponents in Ethiopia.”
Six members of the independent blogger and activist group ‘Zone 9’ were arrested on 25 April in Addis Ababa. Group members Befeqadu Hailu, Atnaf Berahane, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kiberet, Natnael Feleke and Abel Wabela were arrested from their offices or in the street on Friday afternoon. All six were first taken to their homes, which were searched, and then taken to the infamous Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector ‘Maikelawi’, where political prisoners are held in pre-trial, and sometimes arbitrary, detention.
At around the same time on Friday afternoon freelance journalist Tesfalem Waldyes was also arrested. His home was also searched before he was taken to Maikelawi. Another freelance journalist and friend of the Zone 9 group, Edom Kasaye, was arrested on the morning of Saturday 26 April. She was accompanied by police to her home, which was searched, and then taken to Maikelawi.
“The detainees must be immediately released unless they are charged with a recognisable criminal offence” said Claire Beston.
“They must also be given immediate access to their families and lawyers.”
The detainees are being held incommunicado. Family members of those arrested reportedly went to Maikelawi on the morning of Saturday 26 April, and were told they could leave food for the detainees, but they were not permitted to see them.
 
The Zone 9 group had temporarily suspended their activities over the last six months after what they say was a significant increase in surveillance and harassment of their members. On 23 April the group announced via social media that they were returning to their blogging and activism. The arrests came two days later.
It is not known what prompted Waldyes’ arrest, but he is well known as a journalist writing independent commentary on political issues. 
In further arrests, the political opposition party, the Semayawi (Blue) Party, says that during 24 and 25 April more than 20 of its members were arrested. The party was arranging to hold a demonstration on Sunday 27 April. They had provided the requisite notification to Addis Ababa administration, and had reportedly received permission.
The arrested party members, which include the Vice Chairman of the party, are reported to be in detention in a number of police stations around the city, including Kazanchis 6th, Gulele and Yeka police stations.
The Chairman of the party, Yilkil Getnet, was also reportedly arrested, but was released late on Friday night.
Over the last year, the Semayawi party has staged several demonstrations, which have witnessed the arrests and temporary detention of organisers and demonstrators on a number of occasions.
In March, seven female members of the Semayawi Party were arrested during a run to mark International Women’s Day in Addis Ababa, after chanting slogans including “We need freedom! Free political prisoners! We need justice! Freedom! Don’t divide us!” The women were released without charge after ten days in detention. 
“With still a year to go before the general elections, the Ethiopian government is closing any remaining holes in its iron grip on freedom of speech, opinion and thought in the country” said Claire Beston. 
posted by Daniel tesfaye

AN URGENT APPEAL – From Mesfin Wolde-Mariam

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April 24/2014

The UN Human Rights Commission
The African Union Human Rights Commission
The International Red Cross
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
And
All Men and Women of GOOD WILL
Reeyot Alemu
Reeyot Alemu
Reeyot Alemu is a budding Ethiopian poet, essayist, and journalist. There are not many Ethiopians of her caliber inside the country. She has been languishing in the famous Ethiopian Prison in Qalliti for almost three years. She was charged of terrorism, a crime she totally abhors. She was sentenced first for eighteen years but later reduced to three.
With the exception of her mother and father, she is not allowed to communicate with anyone, including her sisters, brothers as well as her fiancée.
Reeyot, although constantly in agonizing pain and in need of help, is held in solitary confinement with a very old and sickly foreign woman who herself requires assistance.
Reeyot is suffering from some growth in her breasts. The prison authorities have been reluctant to take her to hospital for medical checkup, even when her parents were prepared to pay the bill. When she became seriously ill she was allowed to see a doctor as a result of which she was taken to the hospital and operated upon. But no sooner had the surgeon finished the operation than she was immediately taken back to prison even before she had fully recovered from the Anastasia.
She now suffers from a relapse on the operated breast and similar growth in her other breast. The prison authorities still demonstrate their reluctance to provide medical treatment even at the expense of her parents.
May God provide the necessary courage to all those institutions and organizations to cry out effectively for this young lady who is suffering at the hands of insensitive prison administration.
posted by Daniel tesfaye

Why are Some African Dictators coming to the USA?

Why are Some African Dictators coming to the USA?

Why are Some African Dictators coming to the USA?

April 23, 2014

Better late than never, as it relates to President Obama’s invitation of African leaders to USA for a roundtable discussion on Africa. Many Africans have argued that President Obama so far ignored Africa, while giving a strong attention to the Middle East and other hot spots. Even compared to former President George Bush, so far he has little to show in terms of rhetoric urging reform or concrete action like Bush did to fight AIDs in Africa.

What is bedeviling Africa is poor leadership and dictators. Africa has all the resources to be a politically stable and economically viable continent if it were not for the prevalence of corruption and dictators. Most of the conflicts are orchestrated by leaders or originate due to lack of good governance.

For example, ten of the poorest countries in the world are located in Sub Sahara Africa according to the latest U.N. report. From South Sudan, Central Africa to Ethiopia, the leaders have been poking ethnic tension in order to stay in power. While the U.S. is expanding its military bases throughout Africa, it finds it problematic to speak against countries where it has such bases such as Ethiopia. U.S. with 35 or more military command centers in Africa is supporting strongmen, mostly dictators that the militaries are backing.

There is nothing Obama cannot tell some of the dictators on the phone than dragging them to the White House and giving them undeserved red carpet and photo opportunity. It would have been more natural to invite only those countries respecting and applying democratic principles. Winning and dinning with African dictators will mean nothing unless he has a concrete plan and he can make it stick.

For example, he can propose a Marshall Plan for Africa like the way Truman did for Europe to build roads East to West and North to South and to connect Africa and strengthen academic and civic institutions and to promote good governance. Furthermore, he can tell them to abolish their national armies, because the armies primarily used to keep the one party dictatorship, and spend the money on education, end government ownership of land, industries, the Internet, and mines to end corruption. Adopt English, French and Swahili as national languages so that Africans can speak to one another, and form a strong economic and political union like Europe.

President Obama was perceived as a transformational figure in Africa, as well as in the rest of the world. It will be a historical mistake if he does not take advantage to transform Africa; most of all help it get rid of its worst enemy, unelected and murderous dictators and vigorously promote the establishment of democratic foundation and rule of law.

On the other hand, the west is obsessed with fighting terrorism in Africa, but not solving the root cause of terrorism, poverty and hopelessness that is translated into a Jihad. For the west promoting democracy is secondary to fighting terrorism, which is self-defeating, but it goes on. Some forget that dictatorship and hopelessness are the root causes for terrorism, but most western leaders ignore it at their own peril and continue to spend huge sums of money on barricading themselves, screening, surveillance and drones.

Raging ethnic tension primarily instigated by the divide and conquer policy of ruling oligarchy, combined with corruption and misapplication of resources are slowly sapping the economy and the political viability of the continent.

Currently, besides political oppression, and ethnic tensions, some regimes have strangled the people and the economy through government ownership of land, Internet, telephone, and other vital industries leading to massive unemployment and massive migration especially in countries like Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Some of the culprits in this case, the dictators, only thrive and survive with U.S. largesse. Some will go by the wayside without massive Western aid. This gives the U.S. tremendous leverage to coerce democratic and economic changes in the continent. For example, the rabid anti-Muslim and anti-homosexual government of Ethiopia lead by Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn was forced by Washington to rescind the anti-homosexual legislation and demonstration despite overwhelming support by rubber-stamped parliament and the public. Despite the failure of the African Diaspora to take advantage of it, this shows the power of lobby groups in shaping U.S. foreign policy.

President Obama is threatening sanction against Russia and he thinks he can bring Russia to its knees using a sweeping sanction. If he thinks he has this kind of power against a resource rich and powerful country like Russia, why can he not use the some power on perpetual beggars and tinhorn dictators in Africa to reform, end the misery, the corruption, and the dictatorship if he really cares.

Ethiopia is the key to democracy in Africa. Ethiopia besides being the seat of the African union, cradle of mankind, carries great historical symbol for people of African origin. Ethiopia earned this position as one of the longest independent nations, and for repulsing Western colonial occupation. Despite this legacy, Ethiopians have never enjoyed rule of law or fair and free election.

Most African leaders look up to Ethiopia and gather every year in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Now representative of warring factions from South Sudan are in Ethiopia to hammer out their differences and to form democratic union. Unfortunately, Ethiopia is not a place to learn or preach democracy or ethnic harmony. The Ethiopian regime pretended for long for things that it is not in order to earn respect and foreign aid.

Human rights records in many African countries are abysmal and are well documented by Amnesty International, Human rights Watch, and independent media. Some of the African dictators such as the one in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Eritrea appeared along with North Korean dictator in the Dictators of the Month Magazine. Unfortunately, in Washington leaders like the late Ethiopian dictator, Meles Zenawi were wined and dined, as they disguised their “vicious dictatorship” by ingratiating themselves with the U.S. State Department and by hiring high power lobbyist using the money collected from the impoverished people of Africa. For example, Ethiopia spends huge sums of money to make sure Washington does not notice the cruel and evil system and to portray the regime incorrectly anti-terrorist and democratic.

President Obama has also to avoid past pitfalls. In his book Out of America: a Black Man Confronts Africa, journalist Keith Richburg rebukes some African-Americans for being too cozy with African dictators who bring untold misery to their own people.

To his credit, George Bush stemmed the tide of AIDs in Africa; Bill Clinton pretended to be the first Black President. On the other hand, there is little to brag about Obama yet, as far as his contribution to the welfare or the transformation of blacks in America or in Africa.

It might be that his hands are tied, but not for lack of empathy. Either way, there will be no legacy for Obama to brag about so far.

President Obama can rise to the challenge if he dared too. Pushing democratic values and freer market economic development strategies are critical to save the continent. With an investment of $13.3 billion under the Marshall Plan from 1948 to 1952, President Truman provided a lifeline to a devastated Europe and created strong democratic allies for the U.S. President Obama has the option to embark on a bold political and economic agenda for Africa, while opening a huge market three times that of Europe for American businesses.

Dula Abdu, is a U.S-based writer on foreign policy. (article was adopted from previous articles from similar topics).

posted by Daniel tesfaye

 

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