Archive for the month “January, 2015”

US urges Ethiopia to ensure fair trial to bloggers and journalists

January 30, 2015

(U.S. Department of State) The United States is concerned by the Ethiopian Federal High Court’s January 28, 2015, decision to proceed with the trial of six bloggers and three independent journalists on charges under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. The decision undermines a free and open media environment—critical elements for credible and democratic elections, which Ethiopia will hold in May 2015.US on Ethiopian bloggers

We urge the Ethiopian government to ensure that the trial is fair, transparent, and in compliance with Ethiopia’s constitutional guarantees and international human rights obligations. We also urge the Ethiopian government to ensure that the trial is free of political influence and continues to be open to public observation.

The use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation in previous cases against journalists, activists, and opposition political figures raises serious questions about the implementation of the law and about the sanctity of Ethiopians’ constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental elements of a democratic society. We call on the government of Ethiopia to support freedom of expression and freedom of the press to demonstrate its commitment to democracy as it approaches its May 2015 national elections.

posted by Daniel tesfaye


Ethiopian Government Intensifies Crackdown on Dissent

January 29, 2015

(Human Rights Watch, Nairobi) – The Ethiopian government during 2014 intensified its campaign of arrests, prosecutions, and unlawful force to silence criticism, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015. The government responded to peaceful protests with harassment, threats, and arbitrary detention, and used draconian laws to further repress journalists, opposition activists, and critics.Ethiopia Crackdown on Dissent Intensifies

“The Ethiopian government fell back on tried and true measures to muzzle any perceived dissent in 2014,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “Journalists and dissenters suffered most, snuffing out any hope that the government would widen political space ahead of the May 2015 elections.”

In the 656-page world report, its 25th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth urges governments to recognize that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times, and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges. The short-term gains of undermining core values of freedom and non-discrimination are rarely worth the long-term price.

Ethiopia’s dismal rights record faced little criticism from donor countries in 2014. Throughout the year, state security forces harassed and detained leaders and supporters of Ethiopian opposition parties. Security personnel responded to protests in Oromia in April and May with excessive force, resulting in the deaths of at least several dozen people, and the arrests of hundreds more. The authorities regularly blocked the Semawayi (Blue) Party’s attempts to hold protests.

Media remain under a government stranglehold, with many journalists having to choose between self-censorship, harassment and arrest, and exile. In 2014, dozens of journalists fled the country following threats. In July, the government charged seven bloggers known as Zone 9 and three journalists under the abusive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. In August, the owners of six private publications were charged under the criminal code following threats against their publications. The government blocks websites and blogs and regularly monitors and records telephone calls.

The authorities have been displacing indigenous populations without appropriate consultation or compensation in the lower Omo Valley to make way for the development of sugar plantations. Villagers and activists who have questioned the development plans face arrest and harassment.

The government showed no willingness to amend the Anti-Terrorism Law or the Charities and Societies Proclamation, despite increasing condemnation of these laws for violating basic rights. Authorities more rigorously enforced the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which bars organizations from working on human rights, good governance, conflict resolution, and advocacy on the rights of women, children, and people with disabilities if the organizations receive more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign sources.

“The government’s crackdown on free expression in 2014 is a bad sign for elections in 2015,” Lefkow said.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia decimates free press – Human Rights Watch

January 23,2015


(Human Rights Watch, Nairobi) – The Ethiopian government’s systematic repression of independent media has created a bleak landscape for free expression ahead of the May 2015 general elections, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. In the past year, six privately owned publications closed after government harassment; at least 22 journalists, bloggers, and publishers were criminally charged, and more than 30 journalists fled the country in fear of being arrested under repressive laws.The Ethiopian government’s systematic repression of independent media

The 76-page report, “‘Journalism is Not a Crime’: Violations of Media Freedom in Ethiopia,” details how the Ethiopian government has curtailed independent reporting since 2010. Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 70 current and exiled journalists between May 2013 and December 2014, and found patterns of government abuses against journalists that resulted in 19 being imprisoned for exercising their right to free expression, and that have forced at least 60 others into exile since 2010.

Ethiopia’s government has systematically assaulted the country’s independent voices, treating the media as a threat rather than a valued source of information and analysis,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “Ethiopia’s media should be playing a crucial role in the May elections, but instead many journalists fear that their next article could get them thrown in jail.”

Most of Ethiopia’s print, television, and radio outlets are state-controlled, and the few private print media often self-censor their coverage of politically sensitive issues for fear of being shut down.

The six independent print publications that closed in 2014 did so after a lengthy campaign of intimidation that included documentaries on state-run television that alleged the publications were linked to terrorist groups. The intimidation also included harassment and threats against staff, pressure on printers and distributors, regulatory delays, and eventually criminal charges against the editors. Dozens of staff members went into exile. Three of the owners were convicted under the criminal code and sentenced in absentia to more than three years in prison. The evidence the prosecution presented against them consisted of articles that criticized government policies.

While the plight of a few high-profile Ethiopian journalists has become widely known, dozens more in Addis Ababa and in rural regions have suffered systematic abuses at the hands of security officials.

The threats against journalists often take a similar course. Journalists who publish a critical article might receive threatening telephone calls, text messages, and visits from security officials and ruling party cadres. Some said they received hundreds of these threats. If this does not silence them or intimidate them into self-censorship, then the threats intensify and arrests often follow. The courts have shown little or no independence in criminal cases against journalists who have been convicted after unfair trials and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, often on terrorism-related charges.

“Muzzling independent voices through trumped-up criminal charges and harassment is making Ethiopia one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists,” Lefkow said. “The government should immediately release those wrongly imprisoned and reform laws to protect media freedom.”

Most radio and television stations in Ethiopia are government-affiliated, rarely stray from the government position, and tend to promote government policies and tout development successes. Control of radio is crucial politically given that more than 80 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives in rural areas, where the radio is still the main medium for news and information. The few private radio stations that cover political events are subjected to editing and approval requirements by local government officials. Broadcasters who deviate from approved content have been harassed, detained, and in many cases forced into exile.

The government has also frequently jammed broadcasts and blocked the websites of foreign and diaspora-based radio and television stations. Staff working for broadcasters face repeated threats and harassment, as well as intimidation of their sources or people interviewed on international media outlets. Even people watching or listening to these services have been arrested.

The government has also used a variety of more subtle but effective administrative and regulatory restrictions such as hampering efforts to form journalist associations, delaying permits and renewals of private publications, putting pressure on the few printing presses and distributors, and linking employment in state media to ruling party membership.

Social media are also heavily restricted, and many blog sites and websites run by Ethiopians in the diaspora are blocked inside Ethiopia. In April, the authorities arrested six people from Zone 9, a blogging collective that provides commentary on social, political, and other events of interest to young Ethiopians, and charged them under the country’s counterterrorism law and criminal code. Their trial, along with other media figures, has been fraught with various due process concerns. On January 14, 2015, it was adjourned for the 16th time and they have now been jailed for over 260 days. The arrest and prosecution of the Zone 9 bloggers has had a wider chilling effect on freedom of expression in Ethiopia, especially among critically minded bloggers and online activists.

The increased media repression will clearly affect the media landscape for the May elections,.

“The government still has time to make significant reforms that would improve media freedoms before the May elections,” Lefkow said. “Amending oppressive laws and freeing jailed journalists do not require significant time or resources, but only the political will for reform.”

Journalist Reeyot: Prisoner of conscience continues in defiance to TPLF/EPDRF prison

January 21, 2015

by Ewnetu Sime

The recent article posted on several websites entitled ” metaram yemgebaw manew” (መታረም የሚገባው ማነው) by Journalist Reeyot Alemu caught my eye Alemu is a budding Ethiopian poet, essayist, and journalist.

Reeyot is a winner of the 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. She is one of the many political conscience prisoners in Ethiopia. Based the regime so called anti-Terrorist Law which is designed to suppress free speech and fundamental democracy rights of the Ethiopian people, she has been thrown to jail. She was regarded as a “terrorist” and jailed in the infamous prison of Kaliti, initially sentenced to twelve years later reduced to five years. Her detention is the result of judicial proceedings that are clearly unfair. Since her detention the Ethiopians civic organizations and other humanitarian organization called for her and other prisoner of conscience to immediate and unconditionally release. To this date the ruling party TPLF/EPDRF regime refused to release her.

We have read dozens of articles about political prisoners who had experienced the terror, torture, and the solitary confinement in Mekelawi and Kailti prisons. Both prisons have a notorious reputation when it comes to dealing with political detainees. The prisoners are subject to ruthless TPLF interrogator with harsh and life threatening condition. She was not allowed to speak to her lawyer to contest the charge against her, and to see or speak to her family members or friends for extended time. She stated that all her rights were abused . It is clear that she doesn’t want to reveal to the readers all brutality used by the police interrogators, but she indicated a hint. She – said the interrogator slapped her on her face and bangs her head to prison wall to shake her down. You may guess what is happening next.

Based on her article it appears that she is at the end of her prison term. The authorities demanded her to sign a paper entitled “ተመክሮ”. Judging from title it might contains a broad array of restrictions on her rights and movements, , or statutory declaration accepting the accusation. Knowing the ruling party behavior, it is one of the oppressive tactics to dehumanizing and degrading political prisoners. Nevertheless, whatever the intent of the paper is, she decided not sign “ተመክሮ”.

Reeyot’s message has been the same, fight back. She is determined to defend the honorable causes of justice, equal rights, free speech and press for all Ethiopians. She is paying the sacrifice for what she believes. With her fight, she has demonstrated resisting pressure from jailers to accept any conditions that affect her to live as free person is important enough to pay even more price. As saying goes “the truth shall set you free”. She is not looking for special favor or a gesture of good will. She flatly refused to accept a release by trading-off between her principle and “so called ተመክሮ”. The jailers made her health condition worse by not allowing her to have hospital treatment. Our political process has become so messed up that no legendary figure available to look for inspiration. Reeyot is one of crusader of free press freedom and an advocate of social justice for all Ethiopians.

TPLF/EPDRF’s crimes on Reeyout and Ethiopian people are ruthless. The regime is similar to Stalin, Pol Pot and other dictators in the world. They have been demonstrating merciless behavior to its own people the past 22 years. Fair minded people have to fight systematically for replacement of this tyrant. As the fight continues, one would hope things often changes for better. After all who would have imagined that the Arab spring would oust their dictators? This will happen in Ethiopia too. Reeyot’s principle and her story set an example to peaceful movement in recent Ethiopia history. She is one of an ordinary citizen that refused to admit crime which she never committed. All admired her guts and courage of conviction in battling her breast cancer as well as the complete idiotic jailers’ ill treatments. She decided to fight rather than quietly live in servitude.

No one naively believes that TPLF/EPDRF’s will change its behaviors. We have no option other than fighting back like Reeyot. As saying goes “No matter how epically monstrous TPLF/EPDRF becomes, the struggle does not end with them to get freedom. It only begins with them”.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Samora Yunis’ view on the opposition, adios constitution!

January 20, 2015

by Hindessa Abdul

Earlier in the month, amid the ongoing 40th anniversary of the founding of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Major General Samora Yunis, the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian defense forces, was expounding on the position of TPLF/EPRDF concerning opposition parties. “If EPRDF hadn’t wanted the existence of opposition parties, it would have closed the door in the first place like the Shabia (i.e.the Eritrean leadership),” he told party affiliated media members and other guests who were invited to hear the story of the insurrection from the horse’s own mouth. “The opposition that we have now is ready to give the country’s core national interests away… it would be happy if the defense forces are disbanded. I wouldn’t call that an opposition,” he kept on lecturing. “Any way I am a service man,” he concluded. Alas that was too late!Major General Samora Yunis, the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian defense forces

One may wonder whether an army chief can publicly attack opposition parties. At least the much talked about constitution in one of its articles claims, “The armed forces shall carry out their functions free of any partisanship to any political organization(s).” By the way, the 20th anniversary of that document and the day of nations and nationalities have just been celebrated with much fanfare.

Threat to the constitution

Ever since the constitution was ratified in November 1994, the preeminent threat to it came from the executive, which for all practical purposes wrote it in the first place. Not only did the government abused its own creations but also kept on making other laws and directives in utter contradiction to the constitution itself. Here are a few instances:

When former defense minister Seye Abraha fell out with his brother-in-arms, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, he was locked up on corruption charges along with his entire siblings. Bail was out of the question. Again the constitution has a clause that says: “Persons arrested have the right to be released on bail.” To tame the criticism, in a nick of time the government came up with a legislation that denies bail for suspects charged with corruption. To add salt to injury, half a dozen members of parliament who represented the Tigray Regional State were singlehandedly sacked by the Prime Minister who didn’t bother to consult the parliament neither their constituency.

Freedom of assembly has been trampled upon. In 2005 the then PM publicly announced the banning of all kind of assembly and demonstration under the guise of reducing tension following a controversial election. It would take another eight years before a hodgepodge of opposition activists and religious freedom advocates took to the streets demanding the release of their leaders.

Freedom of expression has been the most important victim of the government, though. Article 29, which was copy-pasted from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been trashed. As a result, according to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) census for 2014, Ethiopia has made it to the list of the top ten jailers of journalists in the world; and when it comes to exile, it is in the fourth position even beating Eritrea.

Never forget that when Meles passed away, way before the official version of August 2012, it took around two months for the current premier Hailemariam Desalegn to assume his rightful position. There is nothing in the constitution that talks about the replacement of the PM in case of death or incapacitation. Why? Because the author of the constitution was none other than the former head himself who was set to lead till death do him part, in which he succeeded.

Revisiting the past

Having overthrown the Marxist dictatorship of Mengistu Hailemariam in 1991, TPLF/EPRDF suspended the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) constitution and was leading by the transitional charter. That was supposed to pave the way for a new constitution. So a constitutional drafting commission was established. Most of the members were handpicked by the party in power, some were close confidantes of the man at the helm. Professor Andreas Eshete, the late Kifle Wodajo are among the members to mention but a few.

The Commission’s mandate was to draft a constitution; present it to the public for debate; then submit the final version to the president. The president was to send it to the Constitutional Assembly, the final body entrusted with sealing the fate of the document. Unfortunately, out of the 557 members of the Assembly only 18 were independent politicians or representatives of other smaller parties. Otherwise it was all EPRDF’s show. The constitution which is more or less the country wide version of the TPLF manifesto of 1974 was approved almost by acclamation. To ward off some unexpected legal glitches in the future, the power of interpreting the constitution was given to the House of Federation, the upper chamber of the parliament whose existence is rarely felt.

The making of a Prime Minister

When TPLF/EPRDF came to power Meles Zenawi was the president of the country. Why did he become prime minister? The ethnic politics that he espoused was to have a boomerang effect on him. If he goes for a presidential system, the chance of him being elected by all the people of the country through a direct vote was next to nothing. So he had to pull the tricks of parliamentary system up his sleeve. The public was never enthusiastic about that exercise, let alone discuss the merits of parliamentary system. As everything was a top down approach, the transitional government leaders — with president Meles at the helm — decided parliamentary system as a means to guarantee their eternal hold on power.

So after the Assembly ratified the new constitution, the then minister of information Dr Negasso Gidada was elected president. His role was largely ceremonial. Meles became the all too powerful PM.That way he guaranteed the continuity of his personal grip on power for decades to come by easily swapping hats overnight from president to prime minister. Members of parliament may change; even the president has got two term limits; but Meles’ tenure was for life.

In the name of constitution

From the four constitutions the country ever had, the last one seems to have been abused the most as it became an instrument to wage all kinds of indoctrination under the pretext of safeguarding it. Village political operatives (locally known as cadres) threaten peasants who fail to pay fertilizer arrears by saying they are trying to “dismantle the constitutional order”; when taxi drivers strike that is “crime against constitution”; if a journalist writes about political issues, it is “outrage against the constitution”.

If history is any indication, no constitution in Ethiopia ever withstood the change of government. As such it is just a matter of time before the current one will be adjusted to the tune of whoever controls the Arat Kilo palace next time around.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

MLK: “When Will You Be Satisfied?”

January 19, 2015

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. [MLK] gave his “I Have a Dream Speech” in August 1963, he asked the “devotees of civil rights” a simple rhetorical question:  “When will you be satisfied?

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam

One of his answers was particularly poignant. “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” He empathized with those who have been “battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.”

Dr. King was deeply concerned about the plague of police brutality gratuitously visited upon black men throughout the country. He had seen and experienced police brutality firsthand. In the Spring of 1963, he witnessed  Eugene “Bull” Connor, the rabidly racist police commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war” on unarmed citizens demanding the right to vote. Connors unleashed his police officers to viciously and mercilessly attack non-violent anti-segregation protesters with high-pressure fire hoses, police dogs, billy clubs and tear gas. But the protesters kept on coming in waves chanting, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”.

A number of prominent white Southern clergymen expressed disapproval of Dr. King’s nonviolent tactics inMLK: “When Will You Be Satisfied?” demanding their constitutional right to vote, but applauded Connor’s brutal methods to “maintain law and order.” In April 1963, Dr. King, in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, challenged the moral ambiguity and absurdity of their position and their skin-deep commitment to racial justice. He exposed their willful ignorance and hypocrisy before the court of public opinion. He argued that those who “warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping ‘order’ and ‘preventing violence’” would have come to a different conclusion had they “seen [the] dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes… observed their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail… watched them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls… slap and kick old Negro men and young boys… observe them refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together.”

In March 1965, during the “Bloody Sunday March (click here for video)”,  Alabama State troopers and a posse of police-recruited Klansmen on horseback savagely brutalized civil rights marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as the world watched in horror. Dr. King personally led the second march on “Turnaround Tuesday” with 2500 marchers in tow. Connor’s police withdrew from the bridge to let the marchers continue and avoid a confrontation. Dr. King held a short prayer session as the police looked on from the sidelines. In a dramatic display of self-control and demonstration of the principles of nonviolent resistance, Dr. King turned back and walked his marchers back to town. Within days, Dr.  King led some 25 thousand marchers and successfully completed the 54-mile march from Selma to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery with the protection of thousands of soldiers from the U.S. Army, federalized Alabama National Guardsmen, FBI agents and Federal Marshals. There he delivered a soul-stirring speech: “The end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. … I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?” I come to say to you this afternoon however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long…”

All of the police savagery was visited upon the Selma marchers simply because they demanded their constitutional right to vote guaranteed them under the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lyndon B. Johnson later declared, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”

Dr. King understood police brutality was not limited to physical beatings and atrocities. He was acutely aware of the debilitating effects of the psychic brutality of segregation reinforced by ruthless police forces. The police were the sledgehammer and axe in the hands of Jim Crow (the metaphorical name for racial segregation laws enacted in Southern United States after the American Civil War and remained in force until 1965). They were the first line of “defense” against any efforts to desegregate public schools, public places and transportation, restaurants, restrooms and drinking fountains.

Dr. King was acutely aware of the psychic brutality of racism that destroys the very soul of a human being and leaves the body a shell of shame, fear and self-hate. He understood that a physical injury, even a bullet wound, will eventually heal, though the scar will remain as a permanent signature of the crime committed. But the victim of psychic brutality “finds himself suddenly tongue twisted and stammering to explain to [his] six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people…”  The victim of psychic brutality has to “concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’”

Dr. King understood the psychic brutality of being “humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’; [having one’s] first name become “nigger,” [one’s] middle name become “boy” (however old you are) and [one’s] last name become “John,” and [one’s] wife and mother never given the respected title “Mrs.” He understood the psychic brutality of racism and what it means to be  “forever fighting a degenerating sense of nobodiness”. That’s why he declared Black people could no longer wait for change because “there comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.”

Dr. King understood the psychic injury to the dignity of man and woman will never heal unless given large doses of love (agape). Without love, the psychic brutality of racism, to paraphrase the poetic words of Langston Hughes, will only continue to “fester like a sore– / And then run? /… /… it just sags/ like a heavy load… [and in the end]… explode…”

The spark that set off the powder keg of racism came in the person of a frail 42 year-old seamstress named Rosa Parks. On December 1, 1955, Parks said she was no longer going suffer the slings and arrows of racist psychic brutality inflicted on her as she boarded the buses. She resolved to stand up to the daily humiliations, degradation and dehumanization of segregated public transportation. If she is going to pay her bus fare at the front of the bus, that’s where she was going to sit. When Parks refused to follow the bus driver’s instruction to go to the back of the bus, she stood her ground and would not back down. The police swiftly arrested and jailed her.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” MLK

Dr. King once told a journalist that “A riot is the language of the unheard.  And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.”

That was not all. America had also failed to hear the cries and whimpers of her black children wilting under the blows of police batons. She had turned a blind eye to the lifeless bodies of victims of police brutality in the streets and deaf ears to the bootless cries of young black men begging the mercy of rogue police officers with huge chips on their shoulders.

The most severe “race riots” of 20th Century America were triggered by acts of police brutality. (I am not sure why such unrest is called a “race riot”. It is factually more accurate to call it “riots against police brutality”.)

The July 1964 “Harlem, N.Y. Race Riots” were sparked when a 15-year-old African American teenager was shot and killed by a police lieutenant  in the presence of the teen’s friends and several other witnesses. Thousands of people rioted for nearly a week in the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant resulting in one death, 118 injuries and over 450 arrests along with significant vandalism and looting.

The “Harlem Riots” set off other riots. The Rochester (N.Y) Race Riots” of July 1964 flared when that city’s police attempted to arrest a 19-year-old African American man in the street. Rumors alleging police brutality spread in that city’s African American community resulting in angry reaction. In the ensuing riot, several people were killed, hundreds injured and nearly a thousand protesters arrested along with significant property damage.

The “Philadelphia Race Riots” of August 1964 exploded after prolonged complaints over numerous  allegations of police brutality. In several days of rioting, 341 people were injured, 774 arrested and 225 stores damaged or destroyed in several days of rioting. Similar riots took place in various cities in New Jersey and Chicago.

The August 1965 “Watts Riots” or “Watts Rebellion” were triggered after two white policemen tussled with a black motorist.  An angry crowd joined the fray causing a riot that lasted for nearly a week.  By the end, 34 people were dead, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests and incurring over $40 million in property damage.

The 1967 “Detroit Riot” was sparked when police raided an unlicensed bar and rumors spread that the police had murdered several African American men. That riot lasted for nearly a week and according to Time Magazine became “one of the deadliest and costliest riots in the history of the United States.” During the “long hot summer” of 1967 some 159 riots erupted across the United States.

The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (“Kerner Commission”) was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 riots and to provide recommendations for the future. The Report’s most famous passage warned, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” The Report pointed an accusatory finger at white racism as one of the major causes of urban violence in America. The Report recommended, among other things, the hiring of more diverse and sensitive police forces.

Police brutality-sparked riots continued in the late 1960s and 70s in various American cities.

The Orangeburg Massacre (in Orangeburg, South Carolina) of February 1968 occurred on the campus of South Carolina State University as students tried to desegregate a local bowling alley. South Carolina Highway Patrol Officers fired into a group of African American students killing three and wounding 27. That was the first time police committed atrocities on an American college campus, over two years before the Kent State University shootings in May 1970.

In the 1970s, riots triggered by police brutality continued to occur from Augusta, GA to Jackson, MS. By 1980, another major riot had occurred in Liberty City, a Miami neighborhood after four police officers were acquitted in the death of an African American man. After three days of rioting, 18 people were dead, scores arrested and over $100 million in property damage incurred.

In April 1992, massive riots erupted in Los Angeles after a jury acquitted four police officers of assault charges in the 1991 beating of Rodney King. Fifty-five people died and 2,000 were injured and over 10 thousand people arrested in several days of rioting. Over 1,000 buildings were damaged in the Los Angeles area at a cost of over $1 billion.

“Police Riots”?

The 1968 Democratic National Convention was as much a battleground as a political convention to nominate a president. A number of “counterculture groups” coordinated to disrupt that convention. The law-and order mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, unleashed his police on protesters to “maintain law and order”. That led to pitched street battles in the streets for several days.

The National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence appointed Daniel Walker, an Illinois lawyer and politician, to head the Chicago Study Team to investigate and prepare a report on the violence during the Democratic National Convention. The Walker Report (“Rights in Conflict”) made the controversial conclusion that while protesters had deliberately harassed and provoked police, the police had responded with indiscriminate violence against protesters and bystanders. The report accused law enforcement of engaging in a “police riot”. The Report determined many police officers had committed criminal acts, and condemned the official failure to prosecute or even discipline those officers. The Report stated:

… That [police] violence was made all the more shocking by the fact that it was often inflicted upon persons who had broken no law, disobeyed no order, made no threat. These included peaceful demonstrators, onlookers, and large numbers of residents who were simply passing through, or happened to live in, the areas where confrontations were occurring.

Newsmen and photographers were singled out for assault, and their equipment deliberately damaged. Fundamental police training was ignored; and officers, when on the scene, were often unable to control their men. As one police officer put it: “What happened didn’t have anything to do with police work.” . . .

As a lawyer, I wonder if some of the incidents we witnessed in the riots sparked by police brutality in 2014 could be fairly classified as “police riots”?  I wonder if Eric Garner had died at the hands of police officers in California (instead of N.Y.), the officers involved in his death would have been prosecuted for “police riot”?  According to California Penal Code section 404 as “Any use of force or violence, disturbing the public peace, or any threat to use force or violence, if accompanied by immediate power of execution, by two or more persons acting together, and without authority of law, is a riot.” If those officers had been found in California to have engaged in an unreasonable and unlawful use of deadly force (“without authority of law”) such as employing an illegal chokehold causing a death, could they have been charged for committing a homicide in the course of a “police riot”?

The “quiet riots” of Barack Obama  

In June 2007, presidential hopeful Barack Obama spoke at Hampton University Annual Ministers’ Conference in Hampton, Virginia. He spoke of the “quiet riot” taking place in Los Angeles and in Black America:

… A few weeks ago, I attended a service at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the LA Riots. After a jury acquitted 4 police officers of beating Rodney King-a beating that was filmed and flashed around the world- Los Angeles erupted. I remember the sense of despair and powerlessness in watching one of America’s greatest cities engulfed in flames…

… Many of the folks in this room know just where they were when the riot in Los Angeles started and tragedy struck the corner of Florence and Normandy. And most of the ministers here know that those riots didn’t erupt over night; there had been a “quiet riot” building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.

If you had gone to any street corner in Chicago or Baton Rouge or Hampton — you would have found the same young men and women without hope, without miracles, and without a sense of destiny other than life on the edge — the edge of the law, the edge of the economy, the edge of family structures and communities.

On January 20, 2015 when President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech in Congress, I would like to get his take on the “quiet riot” that has been taking place in the Black community since he became president. Perahps the “quiet riots” quietly disappeared with the Bush Adminstration.  I don’t know.

I would like to know if President Obama had been back to street corners in Chicago, Baton Rouge or Hampton lately (I mean in the last six years). If he had, I would like to know if he had seen any of the young men and women he saw in 2007 “without hope, without miracles, and without a sense of destiny” still hangin’ and chillin’ out there.

After he delivers his speech, I would like to ask President Obama a hypothetical question: What happens to an unrequited “quiet riot”?

“Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun? /Or fester like a sore—/ And then run? /Does it stink like rotten meat? /Or crust and sugar over– /like a syrupy sweet?/ Maybe it just sags /like a heavy load./ Or does it explode?”

A nation of two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal in 2015 or just one United States of America?

In his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Senator Barack Obama stole the show by declaring: “Well, I say to them (those who are preparing to divide us) tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America – there’s the United States of America.

In 1967, the Kerner Commission warned, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

I ask myself, “What is America to me?”

Is it a land ruled by the rule of law or a land of a few misguided men who rule because they believe they are above the law, indeed believe themselves to be the personification of the law because they carry a badge to enforce the law which they mistake as a license to kill and abuse citizens.

Is not America the land of the brave and home of the free?

The Presbyterian Minister and poet Henry Van Dyke had an answer. “…So it’s home again, and home again, America for me! / My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be, / In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars, / Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars!…/

Langston Hughes disagreed, “America never was America to me.” Hughes demanded that we “Let America be America Again” for those who feel “America never was America to [them]”.

In passionate soul-stirring words Langston  Hughes  demanded, “Let America be America again./ Let it be the dream it used to be./Let it be the pioneer on the plain/Seeking a home where he himself is free… / Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–/Let it be that great strong land of love/Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme/That any man be crushed by one above…/ O, let my land be a land where Liberty/ Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,/But opportunity is real, and life is free,/Equality is in the air we breathe…/

I join Hughes. Let’s “Let America be America Again” to those who feel “America never was America to [them].”

Can we get satisfaction in 2015?

On the occasion of Dr. King’s 86th birthday, it is time for us to ask his soul-searching questions once again.  “When will you be satisfied?” When will we be satisfied?

The answer in 2015 must be the same as the answer given in 1963. “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” We can never be satisfied until those “battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality” find a safe harbor, a haven, in the embrace of the Constitution of the United States of America!

In 2014, there were some gusty winds of police brutality. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer in Ferguson, MO. Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man died in Staten Island, New York, after a police officer put him in a chokehold. Grand juries in both cases refused to charge the police officers. There were numerous other incidents throughout the country publicly reported and unreported alleging police brutality.

The Brown and Garner deaths sparked massive street protests. Famed African American televangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes told worshipers that black men should not be “tried on the sidewalk.”

Police Chief Chris Magnus of Richmond, California stood on the sidewalk carrying a sign that read “Black Lives Matter” to show his solidarity with those protesting police brutality.

An organization called “Black Life Matters” was launched to coordinate national grassroots action on police brutality. Several St. Louis Rams players protested on the filed by displaying the “hands up don’t shoot” pose on the field. “I Can’t Breathe,” became the rallying cry against police brutality.

The Rolling Stones sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction… Cause you see I’m on losing streak…”

We must reverse the losing streak of 2014 in 2015. As Americans we must rise up, lock arms and stand together to withstand the battering storms of persecution and let the gentle breeze of justice and the rule of law blow in our faces and take up permanent residence in our souls. In 2015, let’s “Let America be America Again” to those who feel “America never was America to [them].”

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Dr. King taught us that we must be quick to negotiate and slow to confrontation. In 2015, we must negotiate a long and hazardous road littered with the injustices of police brutality. We must negotiate with and convince our fellow citizens who feel battered, betrayed and persecuted by law enforcement and judicial systems that they are fully protected by the American Bill of Rights. We must negotiate to de-escalate tensions between the community and the police, and escalate our creative engagements on issues of the rights of man and woman as human rights.

Police and citizens are not mortal enemies. There are some rogue police officers who believe police power comes from the barrel of the gun. They are mistaken. There are some citizens who believe the police are demons. They are mistaken too. The police should know that they are the servants of citizens. Their professional creed and oath is “to serve and to protect”.

Citizens have a civic and moral duty to treat their servants with respect and appreciation, and without scorn. They must appreciate their servants for doing a thankless, difficult and dangerous job every day.

All police officers wear a badge of courage, but the rogue ones also carry huge chips on their shoulders. We should appreciate all police officers for their courage and sacrifices; but we must also insist that they proudly wear their badges of professionalism and integrity at all times.

The police sometimes use the metaphor of the “Thin Blue Line” to suggest that they are the last line of defense of the citizenry from the criminal elements. In 2015, we need to draw a broad red, white and blue line to protect all Americans from all unlawful official use of force.

Dr. King often dreamt about the “Beloved Community” where poverty, violence, injustice and racism in all its forms will not be tolerated. In his Beloved Community, disputes are resolved by “creating a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation”.

In Dr. King’s “Beloved Community”, negotiation is not about one-upmanship, gamesmanship, showmanship or brinksmanship. It is simply about truth and reconciliation. The negotiators are guided by a single principle: Focus on the positive in every action and statement the opposition makes.

In 2015, I hope Americans will have not only a national “conversation on race” but also a negotiation to begin the creation of the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream. It must NOT be a negotiation between good and evil. It must be a negotiation between good people to get rid of evil.

I hope it will be a negotiation that will NOT end up demonizing and criminalizing one side or the other but humanizes all sides. I hope the negotiations will produce police accountability and citizen civility.  I hope that negotiations will lead to the liberation of people hopelessly trapped in an evil system of hate and dehumanization.

There is one non-negotiable issue. We must insist on the unconditional surrender of an evil system that thrives on man’s inhumanity to man and the deprivation of the divinely ordained rights of Americans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As we celebrate Dr. King’s 86th birthday in 2015, I can imagine him asking us the following haunting questions: When will you be  dissatisfied with the bloodletting?   Dissatisfied  with your demonization of young black men and the police? Dissatisfied with your finger-pointing, teeth-gnashing, heart-aching and gut-wrenching about evil systems that thrive on man’s inhumanity to man? Your endless soul-searching when the truth is standing in your faces with the tears of the suffering? When will you be dissatisfied with your hypocrisy, cowardice and window dressing of injustice? When, when will you begin to negotiate?

In 2014, protesters against police brutality adopted the rallying cry, “I (We) can’t breathe.” It is time for all Americans to exhale in 2015. It is time for us to take a long deep breath of the fresh air of justice and righteousness. Because if we can’t breathe together, we will choke separately.  Even at age 86, Dr. King would have admonished and even chastised us, “All lives of God’s Children matter!”

I highly recommend the motion picture “Selma” to all of my readers. It is a must-see, a magnificent triumph of cinematic storytelling. I just can’t wait for the DVD to come out!


Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

British MPs to visit Ethiopia in bid to secure release of Andy Tsege

January 16, 2015

(The Independent) A delegation of British MPs will visit Ethiopia next month in a bid to secure the release of Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, a British father of three who is under a death sentence.

Free Andargachew Tsige Protest in London

Mr Tsege, 59, a leading critic of the Ethiopian government who came to Britain as a political refugee more than 30 years ago, has been held in solitary confinement for the past six months.

He vanished during a stopover in Yemen last June, during a trip from Dubai to Eritrea, in what campaigners say was a politically motivated kidnapping. Weeks later it emerged he had been imprisoned in Ethiopia.

His precise whereabouts remain unknown.

The Briton, who is the secretary-general of a banned Ethiopian opposition movement, is facing a death sentence imposed at a trial held in his absence in 2009.

The announcement of the visit by British Parliamentarians, yesterday, is in stark contrast to the efforts of Prime Minister David Cameron, whose response to desperate pleas for help from Mr Tsege’s family last year was to write a letter to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister.

Jeremy Corbyn, vice-chair, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights, and Mr Tsege’s constituency MP, will lead the delegation. “He is a British citizen so there is no reason on earth why the British government should not take a very robust view on this,” he said. His constituent is “a British national in prison with no understandable, comprehensible or acceptable legal process that’s put him there.”

And Clive Stafford-Smith, director, Reprieve, who will accompany the MPs to Ethiopia, said: “I think Mr Cameron doesn’t understand how serious this is. I think that Andy is going to be seen, as the years go by, as Ethiopia’s Nelson Mandela.”

Campaigners fear that Mr Tsege is being tortured and concern is mounting for his wellbeing. His sister Bezuaybhu said: “He’s in his cell for 24 hours a day, with an electric light, he’s having no exercise, he’s not having contact with anybody – so if this is not torture what is it?” Her brother has been “kidnapped, detained illegally” and should be brought back to Britain, she added.

In a statement a Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The Ethiopians have not allowed us further access than the two consular visits on 11 August and 19 December, though we continue in our efforts to secure this.” The British government is “deeply concerned” about his detention and is “pressing the Ethiopian authorities” not to carry out the death penalty, they added.

Six months after his capture, Mr Tsege’s family is finding it increasingly hard to cope. His partner Yemi Hailemariam, mother of their three children, said: “We are very ordinary family caught up in this very extraordinary problem and we just don’t know how to get ourselves out of it.” She added: “It just breaks my heart to think he will be celebrating his 60th birthday in three weeks’ time in prison.”

The only contact she has had in six months was a short telephone call Mr Tsege made last month. “He primarily focused on the kids saying that I should not give them false hope. I told him to keep well and strong. He said he is fine. I asked him where he was, he said he was still there [Ethiopia],” she told The Independent.

“It is very, very, difficult to keep things going; I do have my low points. I try just to block a lot of things out and just keep ploughing away – that’s how I’m trying to cope with it,” said Ms Hailemariam.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Embassy, London, claimed that Mr Tsege belongs to a “terrorist organization” seeking to “overthrow the legitimate government of Ethiopia.” He is being “well treated” and “torture is inhumane and has no place in modern Ethiopia,” they added.

Yet a recent report by Amnesty International revealed how political activists have been tortured and killed by the Ethiopian security forces in recent years.

posted by daniel tesfaye

በኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ አርበኞች ግንባርና የግንቦት 7፣ ለፍትህ፣ ዴሞክራሲና የነጻነት፣ ንቅናቄ መሀል የተደረገውን ውህደት በተመለከተ የተሰጠ ጋዜጣዊ መግለጫ፣

በኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ አርበኞች ግንባርና የግንቦት 7፣ ለፍትህ፣ ዴሞክራሲና የነጻነት፣ ንቅናቄ መሀል የተደረገውን ውህደት በተመለከተ የተሰጠ ጋዜጣዊ መግለጫ፣

በዛሬው ዕለት፣ ጥር 2 ቀን 2007 ዓ.ም የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ አርበኞች ግንባርና የግንቦት 7፣ ለፍትህ ለዴሞክራሲና የነጻነት፣ ንቅናቄ፣ ድርጅቶች፣ ተዋህደን “አርበኞች ግንቦት 7፣ ለአንድነትና ዴሞክራሲ፣ ንቅናቄ”፣ በሚባል ሥም መጠራት መጀመራችንን ለመላው የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ስናበስር፣ እጅግ ከፍተኛ ደስታ ይሰማናል።

የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ፣ ባለፉት በርካታ አስርተ አመታት፣ለፍትህ፣ ለእኩልነት፣ ለነጻነት፣ መብትና አንድነት፣ ከፍተኛ ትግል ሲያካሂድ ቆይቷል። በአደረገውም ትግል እጅግ ከፍተኛ መስዕዋትነት ከፍሏል። ለከፈለው ከፍተኛ ዋጋ የሚመጥን ግን ምንም ዓይነት ውጤት አላገኘም። እንዲያውም ከጊዜ ወደ ጊዜ የመብት ረገጣው፣ አድሎው፣ ማስፈራራቱና ማዋከቡ ተጠናክረው መቀጠል ብቻ ሳይሆን፣ ሀገራችን ኢትዮጵያ እንደ ሀገር ልትቀጥል የማያስችል ከፍተኛ የመበታተን አደጋ አንጃቦባት ትገኛለች ።

በሀገራችን ላይ ላንጃበበው ከፍተኛ የመበታተን አደጋ ምክንያት የሆነው በሥልጣን ላይ ያለው የወያኔ የአምባገነን ቡድን ነው። ይህ ዘረኛ አምባገነን ቡድን በሀገራችን ታሪክ በሥልጣን ላይ ከመጡ የገዥ ሃይሎች ጋር ሲወዳደር ሀገርን ለከፍተኛ አደጋ በማጋለጥ፣ ሕዝቧን በማወረድ፣ ተወዳዳሪ የማይገኝለት ዕኩይ ሃይል መሆኑን በበርካታ ተግባራቶቹ ያለ ምንም ጥርጣሬ አረጋግጧል።

በሌላ በኩል ለቀድሞቹም ሆነ ለዛሬው ዘረኛው የወያኔ አምባገነን ገዥ በሕዝብና በሀገር ላይ በደል እየፈጸመ በሥልጣን መቆየት የቻለበት ምክንያት፣ በተቃዋሚነት የሕዝቡን ትግል ለመምራት የተንቀሳቀስን ድርጅቶች፣ የተቋቋምንበት ዓላማ መለያዬት ብቻ ሳይሆን፣ አንድ ዓይነት ዓላማ ያለንም ብንሆን፣ ከድርጅቶቻችን ጠባብ ፍላጎቶችና ስሜቶች ባለፈ፣ የሀገርና የሕዝብን ጉዳይ በማስቀደም በጋራ መሰባሰብና መታገል ስላቃተን ነው። በዚህም ድርጊታችን የራሳችንን ብቻ ሳይሆን የወገናችንንም የመከራ ዘመን እያራዘምን እንገኛለን ።

ይህ ሁኔታ በተለያዩ ተቃዋሚ ድርጅቶች መሀል ከፍተኛ ጥርጣሬና ፍርሀት ከመፍጠሩ የተነሳ በምንም ዓይነት ሁኔታ፣ ተቃዋሚ ድርጅቶች በጋራ በሀገርና በሕዝብ ደረጃ ትርጉም ያለው ስራ መስራት አይችሉም፣ የሚለው አመለካከት የበላይነት እንዲያገኝ አድርጎታል።

በዛሬው ጥር 2 ቀን 2007 ዓ.ም ወደ ውህደት የመጣነው፣ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ አርበኞች ግንባርና የግንቦት 7፣ ለፍትህ፣፡ ለነጻነትና ለዲሞክራሲ ንቅናቄ፣ መዋሃድ መወሰናችንን ፣ ስንገልጽ በተናጠል ከሚደረጉ በጋራ የሚደረጉ የትግል ጥረቶች ውጤታማ ይሆናሉ በሚል ብቻ ሳይሆን፣ የተቃዋሚ ድርጅቶች፣ በምንም ዓይነት ሁኔታ በሀገርና በሕዝብ ደረጃ ትርጉም ያለው ሥራ በጋራ መስራት አይቻሉም የሚለውን፣ አስከፊ ተመክሮና አመለካካት ለመስበርም ነው።

በእኛ እምነት ከትናናሽ ድርጅቶች ዙሪያ ከሚሽከረከሩ ሀሳቦችና ስሜቶች ለመውጣትና ሀገራዊና ሕዝባዊ የሆነው ጉዳይ ለማስቀደም የወሰነ ማንኛውም ድርጅት፣ አርበኞችና ግንቦት7፣ የደረሱበት የውህደት ውሳኔ ወይም በሌሎች በጋራ ሊያሰሩ በሚችሉ ስምምነቶች አብሮ ለመስራት መወሰን የማይችልበት ምንም ምክንያት አይታየንም። በወያኔ አድሎ ስርዓት የተንገፈገፈና ትግሉን ለመቀላቀል የቆረጠ ማንኛውም ዜጋ፣ የተገኘውን አጋጣሚ በመጠቀም ትግሉን መቀላቀል ይችላል፣ የኢትዮያ ሕዝብ በአንድነት የተነሳ ቀን ደግሞ፣ የወያኔ ግብዓተ መሬት ይፈጸማል፣ ብለን ከልብ እናምናለን።

ይህም በመሆኑ፣

ለተቃዋሚ ድርጅቶች፣

ዛሬ በአርበኞችና በግንቦት 7፣ የተጀመረው ጉዞ ውጤታማ በመሆን ሀገራዊና ታሪካዊ ትርጉም እንዲኖረው፣ ሌሎችም በተግባር የምትንቀሳቀሱ ተቃዋሚ ድርጅቶች፣ ወያኔን የማስወገድንና ብሎም ሀገር የማረጋጋቱን ሀላፊነት በጋራ እንድንወጣ የሚያስችል መቀራረብ እንድናደርግ ፣ በውህደት በመሰረትነው፣ በአርበኞች ግንቦት 7፣ ለአንድነትና ዴሞክራሲ፣ ንቅናቄ፣ ሥም፣ ጥሪያችንን እናቀርባለን።

ለወታደራዊና የፖሊስ ሠራዊት አባላት፣

የወያኔ ዘረኛና አምባገነን ቡድን ዕድሜን ለማሳጠርና ሁላችንንም በእኩልነት የምታስተናግድ ሀገር እንድትኖር ፣ በየቦታው የሚደረገውን ትግል፣ የሰሞኑን ቆራጥ የዓየር ሃይል መኮንንኖች ያሳዩትን ዓርያነት በመከተልና በተገኘው አጋጣሚና ሁኔታ በመጠቀም፣ እንድትቀላቀሉ በውህደቱ ድርጅት፣ በአርበኞች ግንቦት 7፣ ለአንድነትና ዴሞክራሲ፣ ንቅናቄ፣ ሥም፣ ጥሪያችንን እናቀርባለን።

የተከበርከው የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ሆይ፣

በረጅም ታሪክህ አይተሄው ለማታውቀው፣ ውርደት፣ ክፋት፣ የመከፋፈልና የመጋጨት አደጋ፣ የመብት እረገጣና አፈና፣ ሀገርና ሕዝብን የማራከስና የመሸጥ፣ ዕኩይ ተግባር፣ የተጠናወተው ወያኔ እና የግብር አበሮቹን፣ ጠራርጎ ለማስወገድ በተጀመረው የጋራ ትግል ውስጥ በቀጥታ እንድትሳተፍም ሆነ በምትችለው ሁሉ እርዳታ እንድታደርግ፣ በዛሬው ጥር 2 ቀን 2007 ዓ.ም የአርበኞችና የግንቦት 7 ውህደት በወለደው፣ በአርበኞች ግንቦት 7፣ ለአንድነትና ዴሞክራሲ፣ ንቅናቄ ሥም፣ ጥሪያችንን እናቀርባለን።

ድል ለኢዮጵያ ሕዝብ!!!

አርበኞች ግንቦት 7፣ ለአንድነትና ዴሞክራሲ፣ ንቅናቄ፣

ጥር 2 ቀን 2007 ዓ.ም

(የውህደቱን መግለጫ በPDF ለማንበብ ከዚህ ላይ ይጫኑ)

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Andargachew Tsgie Before the T-TPLF Inquisition?

January 12, 2015

by Alemayehu G. Mariam

“Cirque d’Andargachew” presented by the Ringling T-TPLF BrothersAndargachew Tsgie Before TPLF

Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) is often credited with the observation that one should “judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

Voltaire also wisely observed, “All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” How true! The late Meles Zenawi and the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) have murdered thousands of people in Ethiopia and gotten away to the merry trumpets of their Western bankrollers.

Last week, the T-TPLF released a 10-minute and 31-second amateurishly stitched video of “answers” given by Andargachew Tsigie  to unstated questions put to him by a faceless  interrogator(s), and expressly invited viewers to render a “judgment of conscience”.

In July 2014, the T-TPLF successfully plotted with the Yemeni regime to arrange the extraordinary rendition (kidnapping) of Andargachew Tsigie, who is the General Secretary of the Ethiopian opposition group known as Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy. In 2009 and 2012, the T-TPLF tried Andargachew in absentia on trumped up terrorism charges in kangaroo (monkey) court proceedings and sentenced him to death.

I condemned Andargachew’s outrageous and illegal abduction in Yemen in my commentary entitled, “Ethiopia: The Crime of Extraordinary Rendition”.Andargachew Tsgie Before the T-TPLF Inquisition?    

Andargachew is a British national of Ethiopian origin.  It is a shame he is a British national in name only. The British Government has done absolutely nothing to secure his release or to ensure that he is not subjected to abuse and mistreatment at the infamous  Meles Zenawi Prison.  For over six months, the British Government has been twiddling thumbs as Andargachew is trotted out for exhibition in the Ringling T-TPLF Brothers media circus freak show.

The British Government has completely failed in its obligations to protect Andargachew under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The British Government speaks with forked tongue on the issue of protection of its nationals who need assistance abroad. British officials say “provision of assistance by consular officials or diplomatic authorities to nationals in difficulty overseas” is their bedrock policy. They also say consular assistance is not a legal right to which UK nationals are entitled:  “The UK Government is under no general obligation under domestic or international law to provide consular assistance (or exercise diplomatic protection).”  They further claim consular intervention to protect their nationals abroad facing or likely to face torture is an integral to the British Government’s anti-torture strategy. The English aristocrat, writer, poet and soldier Sir Walter Raleigh aptly remarked, “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!”

The British Foreign Office knows Andargachew has been sentenced to death twice in the T-TPLF’s kangaroo (monkey) courts and highly likely to face torture. All it has done so far is express regrets and issue fuzzy and equivocal statements about making “consistent requests for information from the Yemeni authorities”, complain about the “the lack of any notification of his detention in contravention of the Vienna convention” and express “our concerns about the death penalty that Mr. Tsige could face in Ethiopia.” According to one report, “Mr. Simmonds (Africa Minister) expressed deep concern that the Ethiopian authorities had not allowed consular access.”

“Whoopty freaking doo!”, as Yankees like to say. Big deal! Nice display of Crocodile tears by the British Foreign Office. I (don’t) wonder if there is a double standard in the protection of British citizens facing torture based on whether they are first class or second-class citizens. Let me cut to the chase. What has the British Government done to secure the rights or release of one of its second class citizens abused by thugs in Ethiopia?  Bloody ‘ell, nothing!

Anyway, back to the T-TPLF and its media Cirque d’Andargachew.

I accepted the explicit invitation extended in the T-TPLF video to “render a judgment of conscience” on Andargachew. (I am aware of the irony of the conscienceless asking for a judgment of conscience.) But how do I even begin to judge Andargachew based exclusively on “answers” he gave to a faceless interrogator and unstated questions at an unknown place and time!?

It was during the Spanish (Medieval) Inquisition that a man accused of heresy was judged exclusively by his answers. (Of course, the Nazis judged a man exclusively by his answers in their show trials (Schauprozess) as did the Soviets during the Stalin purges.)  In my view, what the T-TPLF has done to Andargachew in the 10-minute 31-second video recording closely resembles the medieval inquisitions.  The Inquisition sought only one right answer to a thousand different questions put to heretics and others, “I have converted!”

The inquisitorial process began with an invitation to suspects to denounce themselves if they feared they had been heretical and also to denounce others whom they suspected to be heretics. That was often followed by an official “denunciation” (accusation) and prolonged investigation while the suspect remained in preventive custodial detention.  The inquisition proceedings were conducted secretly. The accused was either never given formal notice of the charges or given notice of the charges years after their detention. Suspected heretics remained in detention isolated and cut off from family and friends during the period of “denunciation” and investigation. The procedural rule in an Inquisition trial permitted admission of “confessions obtained by torture as validly made by the confessor’s free will” (the legal doctrine was “confessionem esse veram, non factam vi tormentorum”). An auto-da-fé  (“act of faith”) was the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates in the Inquisition, followed by the execution of the sentence imposed.

Is the T-TPLF’s video recording of Andargachew Tsigie “testimony” (“answers”) an exhibition of his self-denunciation and denunciation of his colleagues and others? Is the video “testimony” the T-TPLF’s equivalent of its own “denunciation” of Andargachew?  Is the video recording an evidentiary record of the proceedings of the T-TPLF Inquisition “trial” of Andargachew?  Are we being invited to “judge” Andargachew in the “court of our conscience” based on his video “testimony” given at a secret T-TPLF kangaroo (monkey) court trial?  Is the video recording supposed to be evidence of Andargachew’s public conversion to the T-TPLF creed of thugism? Is the video Andargachew’s auto-da-fe confessing, “I have converted to T-TPLF thugism”? Or is the video a recording of Andargachew’s final declaration and testament before the T-TPLF imposes the death sentence it had pronounced on him twice before?

Why is Andargachew being held incommunicado cut off completely from family and friends? Is he held in secret in prolonged detention without being  given notice of charges against him to show he is a heretic from the true faith of revolutionary democracy (whatever that means), or as I have  previously described it, abandonment of the the benighted path of “Melesismo”?

Article 21 (2) of the Ethiopian Constitution guarantees: “Any person in custody or a convicted prisoner shall have the right to communicate with and be visited by spouse(s), close relatives and friends, medical attendants, religious and legal counselors.” Why is Andargachew denied his constitutional rights by the T-TPLF?

Andargachew continues to be held incommunicado and without due process of law. As the stitched video shows, he has been interrogated on at least 5 different occasions for an unknown period of time. Indeed, the amateurish video is so poorly cut and spliced, it is impossible to tell how many interrogations yielded the mangled 10-minute 31-second video.

There is no question that all of Andargachew’s video interrogations were conducted under duress. He was by no means  answering questions over afternoon tea and cakes.  Any questioning of a suspect or defendant in custody by police or prosecutorial authorities is an interrogation. Any answers given, particularly if they are self-incriminatory, are  admissions or confessions which could be used against the person at trial.  Article 19 (5) of the Ethiopian Constitution protects against coerced official interrogation.  “Everyone shall have the right not to be forced to make any confessions or admissions of any evidence that may be brought against him during the trial.” Are the video recordings of Andargachew’s “confessions” prepared for his “trial” in kangaroo (monkey) court?

The video recording in which Andargachew is giving “answers” is made while Andargachew is held in custodial interrogation, incommunicado (totally isolated from family, friends and legal counsel) and without the presence of his legal counsel. Therefore, his “answers” are in fact and presumptively deemed to be the product of coercion. The fact that all suspects accused of “terrorism” by the T-TPLF have been denied the right to counsel and other constitutional rights during interrogations and subjected to physical and psychological torture is further evidence that Andargachew’s interrogation is coerced. (See my commentary, “The Crime of Extraordinary Rendition”.)

What is the ultimate “conscience of judgment” we are asked to render after viewing the video? Burn Andargachew at the stake!?

Judging Andargachew by his “answers” in a 10-minute 31-second stitched video

I am totally at a loss trying to figure out the purpose(s)  of the 10-minute patched video of “answers” given by Andargachew, or the motives underlying its release. Is it intended to show Andargachew is not a “man of steel”, that he melted under withering interrogation in the T-TPLF’s torture chambers? Is it intended to show he has been rehabilitated and re-educated in the T-TPLF torture chambers and that he is now ready to join the Thug Brotherhood?  Show Ginbot 7 is a weak organization without strong or capable leadership and substantial public support? Show Andargachew’s hypocrisy, that he really does not “believe in armed struggle” but does believe in peaceful struggle and maybe an olive branch could be extended to him and his organization?  Show his heresy from his true cause and that has no confidence in his own organization or colleagues? Show that he has contempt for other opposition leaders and organizations and even individuals? Show he has deep reverence for certain T-TPLF leaders and the T-TPLF itself? Show that he is a bad, immoral and wicked man who should not be trusted?  Show Andargachew could be regarded as a reasonable man because he “answered” the questions the “right way” and “truthfully”?

For crying out loud, could someone tell me what the hell is the point of the 10-minute 31-second video!?!

It is manifest that the 10-minute 31-second video is stitched from video segments taken on at least five different occasions. Alternatively, some of the video segments were selectively cut and spliced from one or more extended  interrogations.  The editing and cutting and splicing of the video is so bad and atrocious that some of the “answers” Andargachew gives do not even make grammatical sense let alone attest to his political beliefs and analysis of specific issues. It is also manifest that the various video segments are stitched together to give the false and misleading impression of a whole uninterrupted video recording depicting the type of person Andargachew actually is.

I invite those who released the 10-minute 31-second video to post the complete video interrogations of Andaragachew for a verdict in the court of public opinion.

The first segment of Andargachew’s video “answers” begins 20 seconds into the 10 minute 31 second video. In that segment, Andargachew is wearing what appears to be a double-sided Navy blue athletic jacket with a white collar and a single white stripe down the arms with a green undershirt with white zippers to the collar. He appears to be sitting on a chair against a whitewashed background. (It appears the interrogators took lessons from my previous analysis of their interrogation settings and sought to completely eliminate any trace of the place and time of interrogation in Andargachew’s case. They should know that by trying so hard to conceal everything, they actually reveal a whole lot. More on that later.)  There is an unopened plastic water bottle to his right on the interrogation table. This segment appears to be cut and spliced at 30, 41, 55 seconds,… 2 minutes 3 seconds and so on. They have literally chopped the original full length video so badly that one could make sense of Andargachew’s “answers” only by digitally reconstructing the images and synchronizing  the audio with the lip movement using criminal video forensic techniques.

The second segment begins at 4 minutes and 29 seconds. Andargachew is wearing what appears to be the same jacket as in the first segment but with a lighter blue T-shirt with white trim around the neck. There appears to be a silver colored electronic device partial visible on the interrogation table to his right side. This segment is also cut and spliced badly several times.

The third segment begins at 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Andargachew is wearing what appears to be a black Adidas athletic apparel with triple white stripes on the arms. The video is taken in tight shot against a white background. The interrogation table is barely visible. It has also been cut and spliced several times from a longer interrogation.

The fourth segment begins at 8 minutes and 33 seconds. Andargachew is wearing what appears to be the same blue jacket as in segments 1 and 2. It is not clear if segment 3 is a continuation of segments 1 and 2 and cut and spliced for theatrical effect to exaggerate his responses. It is also likely the video editors and those who directed the production have no idea what they were doing in this segment. (They need to take courses in propaganda film-making or something.)

The fifth segment begins at 9 minutes and 36 seconds. Andargachew is wearing what appears to be the same apparel in segments 1 and 2. The fifth segment is also cut and spliced from a longer video at different points.

The public is invited to render a “judgment of conscience” on Andargachew based on snippets and sound bites from an amateurishly stitched, cut and spliced video that was recorded at an unknown time and place before unknown persons. His “answers” are questionless.  The “answers” are edited, cut and spliced together to reveal only the portions the interrogators believed would put Andargachew in a very bad light to the viewer. Across the five video segments, Andargachew’s answers are selected to make him look apologetic, regretful, uncertain, condemnatory of his life before abduction, accusatory of his colleagues and organization, weak, unintelligent, disoriented, subdued, repentant, ashamed, contrite, mournful, crestfallen, flustered, mortified, inane, witless and on and on and on. It is on such video recorded “answers” that the T-TPLF is asking the viewer to render a “judgment of conscience” on Andargachew. Nonetheless,  I accept the invitation to render a “judgment of conscience” on Andargachew!

The trial of Andargachew Tsigie in my “court of conscience”

I hereby render my “judgment of conscience” on Andargachew Tsigie based on a representative sample of “answers” he “gave” in the 10-minute 31-second T-TPLF video. I do not doubt that my readers will judge me to be a kangaroo (monkey) court judge after you read my verdict below. In my defense, I declare that I am at least an honest and fair kangaroo (monkey) court judge.

For the record, I am rendering my “judgment of conscience” on Andargachew’s interrogation with the following disclosures and stipulations.  I am “judging”  Andargachew  on the basis of an amateurish, cut, spliced and stitched video with extremely poor quality audio.  I do not have a clue about the questions to which he is giving “answers”.  I have no idea if he gave “answers” with knowledge that his “answers” will be presented to the public for a “judgment of conscience”? I do not know if he is aware that his “answers” will be chopped up and randomly cut and spliced for public presentation to make him look bad. I do not know if he is repeating “answers” that he was given to him in advance by his interrogator(s).

I judge Andargachew without any clue about his state of mind or body. I do not know if he was drugged or subjected to mind altering substances by his interrogators before he was coerced to give his “answers”. I “judge” him without knowledge (but strong suspicion) that he has been physically or psychologically tortured or subjected to abuse and treatment into giving his “answers”. I have no clue if he had been sleep deprived before he gave his “answers” or denied food or water. (In segment 1 of the video, there is an unopened plastic water bottle.  Was that his reward at the end of the interrogation if he gave all the right “answers” or just a stage prop?) He is shown wearing dark athletic apparels in the video segments and only his face is shown. Could it be that he is clothed in such a manner to conceal any physical marks on his body?

I am “judging” Andargachew based on incomplete and manifestly doctored “answers” to unstated questions. I am “judging” him by jumping to conclusions without any knowledge of what he said or did not say in the various full interrogations. I am “judging” him without any knowledge of the places and times of his interrogation, the identity of his interrogators, the number and types of specific questions he was, whether his “answers” were responsive to specific questions, and the identity of the officials who gave the order to interrogate him and their motives for releasing it to the public soliciting a “judgment of conscience”. I am “judging” Andargachew without knowing if he is responding to one or multiple interrogators? (Looking at his rapidly shifting eye movements across the room in the various segments, it is evident that he is trying to address several persons in the interrogation room.) I am judging him based on snippets of words he spoke taken completely out of context.

So, here goes my verdict on Andargachew’s questionless answers given on Planet Thugistan.

Andargachew “testified”:  “In the past, it was the most brilliant students who got involved in politics. If I listed the names of those who died [in the political struggle] you will be shocked.”

This is a true statement. Many brilliant, idealistic and patriotic young people died at the hands of the military junta in the 1970s. Other organizations used the young people as cannon fodder to advance their own political ambitions. I knew a few of them. History will remember them one day as the best and brightest of their generation.

Andargachew: “[Young people these days] if they get their degree and a little opportunity, they will go abroad to live. They will get a job and continue with their lives. They don’t even think like they want to stay and survive in the country. They don’t think that way…”

That is an undeniable truth. Let’s be honest. What young person in Ethiopia would not want to go to a place where s/he can be free to pursue his/her dreams? Is there a young person alive in Ethiopia who would choose to live under the rule of a bunch of ignorant and corrupt bush thugs?

Andargachew: “[Ginbot 7] has looked at the youth in many ways. Young people believe in peaceful politics and they don’t believe in dying as in the old era of the EPRP. That’s long gone… Young people say, ‘We will express ourselves, go out and protest. Nothing will happen to us. This is a different era.’

This “answer” in segment 1 of the video is so badly cut and spliced that it is hard to understand the young people to which  Andargachew is referring. If I understand the “answer” correctly, it is true that young Ethiopians want peaceful change. They want change in barrels of love and knowledge, in barrels of ignorance or out of the muzzle of AK-47s. I do not know of a single young Ethiopian who would knowingly and intelligently choose war over peace, strife over harmony and enmity over amity.

Andargachew: “Ginbot 7 has serious problems. There were problems we did not see that we were forced to see… We have not been able to do what we consider to be core activities…”

It seems like a credible statement to me. I have no personal knowledge of the internal functions and processes of Ginbot 7, but it seems from Andargachew’s “answer” reflects the same problems every other Ethiopian opposition group is having today. Ho-hum!

Andargachew: “I have a question on how Ethiopian opposition groups can function in politics.  When the opposition does not know with transparency what the state is doing, I don’t know how they can prepare to work or come up with a manifesto or make election promises. The onus on transparency is on the state.  That is my belief. First, the opposition is fractured. Second, they should get together to accept this this big responsibility and work together…. There are certain highly individualistic values… One of the greatest problems is for groups to get together and work for a common purpose… I have never seen them write an economic policy. What is their economic policy?… I don’t believe in the idea that a thousand people could get together and make a political party… or five people form a party to struggle for power… Some of the opposition groups have 20 people when they have a meeting, the EPRP, Shengo, etc. They become 23 or 24 when our people are added to them… They are splintered and without unity of purpose… ”

This “answer” in segment 3 of the video is so badly cut and spliced, it is hard to understand exactly what Andargachew is saying about the nature of opposition politics. However, it is undeniable that the Ethiopian opposition is fractured, fragmented and unable to come together and present a unified front to the T-TPLF. It is self-evident that Ethiopian opposition groups are without their own clear and articulated programs or manifesto to deal with the country’s problems. I have been complaining about this very issue for years. Nearly five years ago, I proposed the establishment of a think tank to help opposition groups develop a unified political agenda and programs. (See my Huffington Post commentary, “Speaking Truth to the Truth Seekers”.) I have not had a single taker on my proposal!

Andargachew’s very last answer on the video: “There are a number of things that I have appreciated [abput my incarceration]. When I came, I had my T-Shirt and the pants I was wearing. In terms of food, I am in a situation where [my jailors] have been instructed to provide me any kind of food that I choose [avoiding sugary foods]. After I came here, I have become very healthy. I am in a perfectly comfortable situation where I experience no discomfort whatsoever. I walk and move around and I have lost all of the fat and become slim and trim.

I cannot judge the cuisine of extended stay “Burj Al Meles Zenawi” hotel. But there is something fishy about the lovey- dovey care Andargachew is getting at the Meles Zenawi Prison. We have been told by the T-TPLF that Andargachew is  the most “dangerous terrorist” ever. That is why he was given two death sentences, one in 2009 and another in 2012. In fact, he is so dangerous that he is the only person for whom the T-TPLF went to extreme lengths to make special  arrangements  for his extraordinary rendition.  Following his abduction in Yemen in July 2014, the T-TPLF described Andargachew in language befitting Osama bin Laden?

Why would the T-TPLF give the “Osama bin Laden of Ethiopia” the royal treatment???

If Andargachew is getting such royal treatment, how come he does not flick a single smile in the entire 10-minute and 31 second video?

I have seen the Andargachew movie (video) before

I have seen the T-TPLF do many ignorant, ill-advised, short-sighted, ludicrous, foolish and plain dumb stuff over the years. I watched in amazement when the T-TPLF put on national television a video recording demonizing  peaceful Muslim protestors as “terrorists”. In two pitiful and amateurish video “documentaries”, the T-TPLF tried to paint Ethiopian Muslims as fundamentalist fanatics. In two commentaries (Ethiopia: Land of Blood or Land of Corruption?” December 2011 and “Ethiopia: The Politics of Fear and Smear” February 2013), I fully defended the rights of Ethiopian Muslims to be free from official interference, manipulation and regulation.

I saw the T-TPLF trying to tear Emperor Menelik II to pieces just to build up the late Meles Zenawi. I demonstrated in my commentary “Demonizing Ethiopian History” that when it comes to gravitas (seriousness and solemnity), pietas (duty, loyalty),  dignitas (dignity and charisma) and virtus (valor, character, courage), Meles had nothin’ on Menelik. Meles and his crew are literally in the bush leagues (third-rate, small-time) compared to Menelik. I don’t need to prove Menelik was in the Big League.  See the New York Times report of November 7, 1909.

I have also seen the T-TPLF doing all kinds of silly, childish and mindless stuff over the years to humiliate Ethiopian opposition leaders, human rights activists and others. A few years ago, they secretly recorded the great Ethiopian stage and screen actor Debebe Eshetu in detention in exactly the same way as Andargachew and released the video. The public was invited to render a “judgment of conscience” on Artist Debebe.  I rendered judgment after viewing that trashy video. My judgment is that I have the greatest admiration and respect for Artist Debebe not only for his unrivaled thespian skills but also as a human rights advocate. I know Debebe Eshetu is a dedicated human rights defender.

The T-TPLF pulled the same exact stunt with Abubaker Ahmed, the Ethiopian Muslim human rights advocate, and others.

There is nothing new in what the T-TPLF is doing to Andargachew. It is the same old crap on a different day and with a different victim! It must be hell to have no imagination!

I am dumbfounded by T-TPLF’s invitation to have Ethiopians judge Andargachew ONLY by listening to his “answers” in a stitched videos recorded over an undetermined period of time and unspecified location. What were they thinking? (That is a dumb question. They don’t!)  Who authorized the release of such a trashy piece of video? (Another dumb question.) Suffice it to say that the T-TPLF’s contempt for our intelligence is surpassed only by our total contempt for their ignorance, idiocy and stupidity. They want us to judge a man ONLY by his answers! Such is life on Planet Thugistan!

“Judging ” Andargachew by his “answers” but not his words

Andargachew’s interrogators tried to conceal the identity of his interrogators, the place and times of his interrogation and released a distorted and manipulated video recording of his “answers” to humiliate him with maximum theatrical effect. But there were “answers” within the “answers” he gave to his interrogators that told a very different story.

Expert forensic video analysis reveals quite a bit. Scanning Andargachew’s gestures in clusters, examining his body movement and position in the video segments reveals much useful information. Suffice it to say that there are many “inconsistencies” in the video “answers” released by the T-TPLF.  The T-TPLF video shows Andargachew fiddling with his fingers, making uncharacteristic wild gestures, flailing his hands in the air and his head bobbing and weaving, among other things. Scanning Andargachew’s gestures in clusters and comparing them to other known exemplars of previous video recording of his interviews and public speeches, it is clear that his entire presentation on the T-TPLF is demonstrably unnatural for him.

Examination of his body positioning, movement and posture in the various segments of the T-TPLF video reveal distinct signs that he was under extreme stress and undergoing anxiety when he gave his “answers”. Specific “answers” registered high for stress. His facial expressions (and lack thereof) vary dramatically from apparent stress emanating at  least partially from facing his interrogator(s) who likely were looking at him intently possibly evincing a demeanor of contempt or hostility. He makes a number of exaggerated postures and movements in his sitting position at the table (including stiffness and immobility) that are unnatural to him suggesting a high degree of physical and psychological discomfort.

Voice stress analysis of his “answers” suggest he was not making the statements voluntarily and that the content of his “answers” are highly dubious at best. It also suggests that his “answers” are not spontaneous but likely prepared in advance and possibly coached. His statements that he is getting the royal treatment at the “Burj Al Meles Zenawi” hotel is not only incredible but seems coached, unnecessarily over-the-top and ludicrously melodramatic.

The tone and pitch of his voice and inflection of certain words and phrases indicated stress which diminished with statements that appeared to please the interrogators.  There are also distinct patterns showing his “answers” lagging behind his physical gestures suggesting discernable incongruity of speech and body movement.

It is possible to infer from the patched video as a whole that Andargachew’s “answers” show that he was subjected to a stressful situation. His responses to specific answers suggest anxiety, uncertainty, hesitancy, fear, anger and even boredom.

Is it possible that Andargachew is acting or play-acting in the T-TPLF video. Is he “answering” to sound believable without believing in the “answers”? I know the answer to these questions, but I will let my readers render their own “judgment of conscience”.

I am hopeful that the T-TPLF will include some of the foregoing elementary principles of “Video Forensic 101” in their next production of a video of questionless answers for the public’s “judgment of conscience”.

Is Andargachew a victim of Stockholm Syndrome?

Expert forensic video analysis also suggests that Andargachew may have been a victim of the so-called Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological phenomenon which occurs when a captive or hostage identifies with his captor. Such a victim often expresses empathy and sympathy to his/her captor and manifest certain positive and warm feelings toward their captors to the point of defending them. The victims equate lack of abuse and simple gestures as acts of kindness and decency. The very last “answer” Andargachew gives in the video strongly suggests that he may be undergoing a phase in the Stockholm Syndrome.

Let the media circus continue…

Let the media circus continue on the three-ring stages of the Ringling T-TPLF Brothers. Put on Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye on Ring 1. Andualem Aragie on Ring 2. Bekele Gerba, Abubaker Ahmed on Ring 3.

I have rendered my “judgment of conscience” in the Inquisition of Andargachew Tsigie. I ask all my readers to do the same. Before rendering a verdict, I ask my readers to answer one question: Are you going to believe Andargachew’s tortured words or his tortured body language?

With special thanks to colleagues in the field of forensic video analysis for support in digital multimedia evidence processing. Muchas gracias a mis amigos!


Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

“ሁሉን ማድረግ አልችልም ሁሉን ማድረግ አለመቻሌ ግን የምችለዉን ከማድረግ ወደ ኋላ አያስቀረኝም” (የርዕዮት አለሙ ደብዳቤ ከቃሊቲ እስር ቤት)


መታረም የሚገባዉ ማነዉ?
ርዕዮት አለሙ ከቃሊቲ እስር ቤት
በግል የህትመት ዉጤቶች አማካኝነት በሀገሬ ዉስጥ የምመለከታቸዉን ችግሮች ለህዝብ ማቅረብና እንደዜጋም መፍትሔ ይሆናሉ ብዬ የማስባቸዉን ሀሳቦች መጠቆም ከጀመርኩ አምስት አመታት አለፉ፡፡ የመጀመሪያ ፅሑፌን ያዘጋጀሁት ” “ስህተቶችን” ለማረም የተፈፀሙ ስህተቶችና የስህተት ማረሚያ እርምጃዎች” በሚል ርዕስ እንደነበረ አስታዉሳለሁ፡፡ በዚህም ፅሑፍ የፕሬስ፣ የፖለቲካፓርቲዎች ምዝገባና መንግስታዊ ያልሆኑ ድርጅቶችን የተመለከቱ አዋጆች የወጡበት ምክንያትና እንደሀገር የሚያሳድሩትን ተፅእኖ ለመዳሰስ ብሎም ኢህአዴግ ከስህተቶቹ እንዲታረም ለመምከር ሞክሬያለሁ፡፡

Reeyot Alemu
የኢህአዴግ ሰዎች በአንድ የገዢዉ ፓርቲ ልሳን በሆነ ድረገፅ አማካኝነት የማስጠንቀቂያ ይዘት ያለዉ ምላሽ መስጠት የጀመሩት ከላይ ከጠቀስኩት የመጀመሪያ ፅሁፌ ጀምሮ የነበረ ቢሆንም በአዲስፕሬስ ጋዜጣ ላይ በአዘጋጅነት ተቀጥሬ መስራት ስጀምር ግን ሁኔታዉ እየባሰ መጣ፡፡ በተለይ የኢትዮጵያ እንባ ጠባቂ ተቋም አዳማ ላይ ከተለያዩ ሚዲያዎች ለተዉጣጣን ጋዜጠኞች የሰጠዉን ስልጠና ከተካፈልኩ በኋል ከስልጠናዉ ጋር በተያያዘ ለህትመት ያበቃሁት ፅሁፍ ኢህአዴጎችን በእጅጉ አስቆጣቸዉ፡፡ በመሆኑም ወደቢሮአችን ተደዉሎ ከኢህአዴግ ፅህፈት ቤት የተደወለ መሆኑ ከተገለፀ በኋላ ለጽሑፌ ምላሽ የላኩ በመሆኑ በፍጥነነት እንድናወጣዉ ቀጭን ትዕዛዝ ተሰጠን፡፡ ምላሻቸዉን ለማዉጣት የእነሱ መደወልም ሆነ ትዕዛዝ አስፈላጊ አልነበረም፡፡

የዝግጅት ክፍላችን አንድ ጽሑፍ የቀረበበት አካል ምላሹን በዚያዉ በተፃፈበት የህትመት ዉጤት ላይ ማስነበብ እንደሚችል በህግ የተደነገገ መሆኑን ከማወቁም በላይ የትኛዉንም አይነት ሀሳብ ለማስተናገድ ክፍት ነበርና ምላሻቸዉን በጋዜጣችን ላይ ታተመ፡፡ በዚህ ብቻ ግን አልተገቱም፤ በወቅቱ የገዢዉ ፓርቲን ሀሳብ በማቀንቀን ይታወቁ የነበሩት እንደ ዳጉ ኢትዮጵያና ሰነድ ያሉ ጋዜጦች ሀሳቦቼን በሃሳብ መምታት ባለመቻላቸዉ ይሁን ባለመፈለጋቸዉ ተራ ዘለፋዎችን ያወርዱብኝ ጀመር፡፡

በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ የገዢዉ ፓርቲ ደህንነቶች ስልክ በመደወል፣ በዝግጅት ክፍላችን አድራሻ በስሜ ደብዳቤ በመላክና በአካልም በማግኘት ጭምር መንግስትን የሚተቹ ፅሑፎችን እንዳልፅፍ ሊያስፈራሩኝ ሞከሩ፡፡ “ማስፈራራት የሚቻለዉ የሚፈራ ሲኖር ነዉ” እንዲሉ ሙከራቸዉ ዋጋ አልነበረዉም፡፡ ምክንያቱም የመጀመሪያ ፅሑፌን ለህትመት ከማብቃቴ በፊት ልከፍለዉ ስለምችለዉ መስዋዕትነት በሚገባ አስቤበታለሁ፡፡ የሀገሬን ጉዳይ በንቃት የምከታተል ዜጋ እንደመሆኔም ከገዢዉ ፓርቲ የተለየ ሀሳብ ያቀነቀኑ ሰዎች የደረሰባቸዉን በሚገባ አዉቃለሁ፡፡ በመሆኑም ከሁለት መጥፎ ምርጫዎች አንዱን ማለትም እነሱ የደረሰባቸዉን ግፍ እንዳይደርስብኝ የሀገሬን ጉዳይ በተመለከተ ፍዝ ተመልካች መሆንን ወይም በሙያዬ የምችለዉን አስተዋፅኦ አበርክቼ የሚመጣዉን መቀበል መምረጥ ነበረብኝ፡፡

ሁለተኛዉን የተሻለ መጥፎ ምርጫ ከመረጥኩ የሰነበትኩ በመሆኑም እየበረከቱ የመጡትን ማስፈራሪያዎች ከቁብ ሳልቆጥር የጋዜጠኝነት ስራዬን መቀጠል ቻልኩ፡፡ በዚሁ መሰረት ስራ ለመያዝ፣ የደረጃ እድገት ለማግኘትም ሆነ በአጠቃላይ ኢትዮጵያ ዉስጥ ከደህንነት ስጋት የፀዳ ኑሮ ለመኖር የኢህአዴግ አባል ካልሆነም ደጋፊ መሆን ከጊዜ ጊዜ ግድ እየሆነ መምጣቱን የሚያሳዩ፣ ገዢዉ ፓርቲ እንዳጎናፀፈን የሚገልፅልን ሀሳብን በነፃነት የመግለፅ መብት በተጨባጭ አለመኖሩን የሚሞግቱ፣ የኢህአዴግን እንደሀገር የማሰብ ችሎታ ወይም ፍቃደኝነት አናሳ መሆን የሚተቹና ሌሎችም መንግስት ቀናነት ቢኖረዉ ኖሮ ሊታረምበት የሚያስችሉትን በርካታ ፅሑፎች አቀረብኩ፡፡ አንድ ቀን ጧት ግን አምባገነኑ መንግስታችን ከጀመርኩት ጉዞ ገታኝ፡፡ ሰኔ10/2003 በወቅቱ እሰራባት በነበረችዉ ተወዳጇ ፍትህ ጋዜጣ ላይ የቀድሞዉን ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር በተመለከተ ፅሑፍ ለህዝብ ማቅረቤን ተከትሎ ሰኔ14/2003 ዓ.ም ለእስር ተዳረግሁ፡፡
ማዕከላዊና ቃሊቲ ምንና ምን ናቸዉ?

ዉድ አንባብያን፤ ፊዘኛዉ መንግስታችን በሽብርተኝነት እንደሚጠረጥረኝ ገልፆ በእጆቼ ካቴና በማጥለቅ በቁጥጥር ስር አዋለኝ ካዋለኝ ከዚያ ቀን ጀምሮ እስካሁን ድረስ ለቁጥር የሚያታክቱ የመብት ጥሰቶችን እየፈፀመብኝ ይገኛል፡፡ ለአብነት ያህል እጅግ በጣም ጥቂቶቹን እነሆ!

ከህጎች ሁሉ የበላይ ህግ ነዉ የሚባልለት ህገመንግስት በጥበቃ ስር ያሉ ሰዎች በጠበቆቻቸዉ የመጎብኘት መብት እንዳላቸዉ ቢገልፅም እኔና ሌሎች የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ግን ይሄ መብታችን በማዕከላዊ አለቆች ተጥሷል፡፡ ጠበቃዬን ለማግኘት የተፈቀደልኝ ምርመራዉ ከተጠናቀቀና ቃል ከሰጠሁ በኋላ ወደቃሊቲ ለመዉረድ የአስርቀናት ዕድሜ ያህል ሲቀረኝ ነበር፡፡ በቤተሰብና በጓደኞቼ ለመጎብኘት የተፈቀደልኝም ሁለት ወር ከ3 ሳምንታት ክልከላ በኋላ ነበር፡፡ ከጠበቃዬ ጋር እንዳልገናኝ ተደርጎ የሚካሄደዉ ምርመራ የፃፍኳቸዉን ፅሑፎች ለምን እንደፃፍኩ፣ ከበስተኋላዬ ሆኖ የሚገፋኝ አካል ስለመኖር አለመኖሩና የመሳሰሉት ጥያቄዎች ላይ ያተኮረ ቢሆንም አልፎ አልፎ ደግሞ መልኩን ይቀይራል፡፡ አንዳንድ ቀን መርማሪዎቹ በማስተምርበት ሁለተኛ ደረጃ ት/ቤት በተካሄዱ ስብሰባዎች ላይ ያቀረብኳቸዉን ሀሳቦች እያነሱ ከመንግስት የደህንነት ሀይሎች የሚያመልጥ ምንም ነገር እንደሌለ በመግለፅ ቢጤ ያሰሙኝ እንደነበር ሳልጠቅስ ማለፍ አልፈልግም፡፡፡ እንዲህ አይነቱ ንግግራቸዉ አሰልቺዉን ምርመራ ዘና እልበት ዘንድ የሚረዳኝ የእፎይታ ጊዜ ሰጥቶኛል፡፡

በአደባባይ ስብሰባዎች ላይ የተናገርኩትንና ደህንነት ሊሰልለዉ የማያስፈልገዉን ግልፅ ነገር እንደ ትልቅ የደህንነቶች የስራ ዉጤት ተደርጎ ሲገለፅ ከመስማት በላይ ምን የሚያዝናና ነገር ይገኛል? የት/ቤት ርዕሰ መምህራኖች በሙሉ የኢህአዴግ አባል እንዲሆኑ የተደረገበት ምክንያት መንግስት እንደሚለዉ የትምህርት ፖሊሲዉን ለማስፈፀም ሳይሆን የመምህራንንና የተማሪዎችን የፖለቲካ አቋም ለማወቅና ይህንኑ ሪፖርት ለማድረግ መሆኑን የማይረዳ መምህር ይኖራል? ይህንን ለማድረግ ፍቃደኛ ያልሆኑ ርዕሰ መምህራኖች ሰበብ እየተፈለገላቸዉ ከቦታቸዉ እንዲነሱ ሲደረግስ ስንታዘብ አልኖርንም? “ሁሉን ቢናገሩት ሆድ ባዶ ይቀራል” አለ ያገሬ ሰዉ! ሆዴ ባዶ እንዳይቀር ሁሉን መተንፈሴን ትቼ የጀመርኩትን የማዕከላዊ ምርመራ ጉዳይ ልቀጥል፡፡

የምርመራዉ ይዘት ከጥቂት ሳምንታት በኋላ መልኩን እየቀየረ መጣ፡፡ በሪፖርተርነት እሰራበት የነበረዉ የኢትዮጵያ ሪቪዉ ድረገፅ አዘጋጅ ኤልያስ ክፍሌ የሽብር ተልዕኮ እንደሰጠኝ በሀሰት እንድናገርና ተከሳሽነቴ ቀርቶ ምስክር ሆኜ እንድፈታ ለማድረግ የተለያዩ ጫናዎቸው ይደርሱብኝ ጀመር፡፡ ለአምስት ደቂቃ ያህል ጧትና ማታ ወደመፀዳጃ ቤት ለመሄድ ከሚከፍቱልኝ በስተቀር ለአስራሶስት ቀናት ያህል ብቻዬን አንድ መጥፎ ሽታ ያለዉ ክፍል ዉስጥ ተዘግቶብኝ ከረምኩ፡፡ በዚህ ወቅት ጉዳዬን የያዘዉ ዐቃቤህግ ማዕከላዊ በመምጣት እያስጠራኝ ሀሳቤን የማልለዉጥ ከሆነ እድሜ ልክ ወይም ሞት እንደሚያስፈርድብኝ ይዝትብኝ ነበር፡፡ ሀሰን ሽፋ በበኩሉ በሀሳባቸዉ የማልስማማ ከሆነ የያዘኝን የወጣት ጀብደኝነት ማስተንፈስ ለነሱ ከባድ ስራ አለመሆኑን ነግሮኛል፡፡ በኔ በኩል ደግሞ ከተጠረጠርኩበት ወንጀል ንፁህ መሆኔ እንጂ ኤልያስ ላይ በሀሰት መመስከሬ ሊያስፈታኝ እንደማይገባ ስለማምን ይህንኑ በተደጋጋሚ አስታዉቄ ተከሳሽ መሆንን መረጥኩ፡፡ ኢህአዴግ እስካለ ድረስ የተሻለዉን መጥፎ እየመረጡ መኖር ዕጣፋንታችን ከሆነ ቆየ አይደል?
ማዕከላዊ እያለሁ ከተፈፀሙብኝ የመብት ረገጣዎች ዉስጥ አንዱ የሆነዉ በአንድ ፖሊስ የተሰጠኝ ጥፊና ከግድግዳ ጋር ማጋጨት በተለይ ወንድ የፖለቲካ እስረኞች ከሚፈፀምባቸዉ ለዘላቂ የአካል ጉዳት የሚዳርግ ከባድ ድብደባ አንፃር ሳስተያየዉ የማዕከላዊ መርማሪዎች እንደሚሉት “ቁንጥጫ” ተብሎ ከመግለፅ የሚያልፍ ባለመሆኑ ብዙ ልልበት አልፈልግም፡፡

በወቅቱ የነበርነዉ ሴት እስረኞች ላይ ያን ያህል የከፋ አካላዊ ድብደባ አልተፈፀመም ማለት ግን የማዕከላዊ መርማሪዎች ለሴቶች ይሳሳሉ ማለት አይደለም፡፡ ለማሳያነት እስካሁን ድረስ ማዕከላዊ በተፈፀመባት ከባድ ድብደባ የተነሳ በህመም የምትሰቃየዋን የፖለቲካ እስረኛ እማዋይሽ አለሙን መጥቀስ ይቻላል፡፡ አይ ማዕከላዊ! ማዕከላዊ ዘና ብለዉ የሚራመዱ ኩሩ የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች በገቡ ሳምንት በማይሞላ ጊዜ ዉስጥ በቃሬዛና በሰዎች ድጋፍ በሸክም ሲያሳልፉና የድረሱልኝ ዋይታ ሲያቀርቡ የሰማሁበት አሰቃቂ ቦታ ነዉ፡፡ ምስላቸዉ ከአይኔ ላይ፣ ጩኸታቸዉ ከጆሮዬ ተጣብቆ የሚኖረዉ እነዚህ ወገኖቼን እያሰብኩ መናደድ መቆጨት የዕለት ተዕለት የኑሮዬ አካል ሆኗል፡፡
የማዕከላዊዉን የመብት ረገጣ እዚህጋ ገታ ላድርገዉና በተለይ የፖለቲካ እስረኞችን ሰብአዊ መብት ከመጨፍለቅ አንፃር አምሳያዉ ወደ ሆነዉ የቃሊቲ እስር ቤት ልለፍ፡፡ ጳጉሜ3/2003 ዓ.ም ቃሊቲ እንደገባሁ በኋላ ላይ የጥበቃ ክፍል ሀላፊ እንደሆነች በተገነዘብኩት ሀላፊ አማካኝነት ጋዜጠኝነቴ ከታሰርኩ በኋላ የቀረ በመሆኑ ግቢዉ ዉስጥ በሚኖረኝ ቆይታ አርፌ መቀመጥ እንደሚኖርብኝ ተነገረኝ፡፡ አልጋ እስከሚለቀቅ ተብሎም እኔና በአንድ መዝገብ የተከሰስነዉ ወ/ሮ ሂሩት ክፍሌ ምንም እንኳን ሁለታችንም የሳይነስ በሽታ ያለብን ቢሆንም ሽንት ቤት አጠገብ መሬት ላይ ፍራሽ አንጥፈን እንድንተኛ ተደረገ፡፡

ዉድ አንባቢያን ስለቃሊቲ ስታስቡ ወደ አዕምሮአችሁ የሚመጡት ያማሩ ግንብ ቤቶችና የተዋቡ አልጋዎች ከሆኑ ኢቲቪ እንደሸወዳችሁ ልነግራችሁ እወዳለሁ፡፡ የፓስተር ዳንኤል ገ/ስላሴ ፕሪዝን ፌሎሽፕ የተባለ ድርጅት እንዳሰራቸዉ የሚናገሩት እነዚህ ያማሩ ግንብ ቤቶች ሁለት ክፍሎችና መፀዳጃ ቤት ብቻ ያሏቸዉ ሲሆኑ የተቀሩት በሴቶች ዞን ዉስጥ ያሉ ክፍሎች ከሁለት ያረጁ ግንብ ቤቶች በስተቀር በቆርቆሮ የተሰሩና እስረኞች በተጨናነቀ ሁኔታ የሚኖሩባቸዉ ናቸዉ፡፡ የቃሊቲ ምቾት አልባነት የሚሰማዉ አካልን ብቻ አይደለም፡፡ ቃሊቲ ከአካል በከፋ ሁኔታ ለነፍስና ለመንፈስ ይጎረብጣል፡፡ እንዴት ቢሉ እንዲህ እልዎታለሁ፡፡ የቃሊቲ የሴቶች ዞን ቤተመፃሕፍት ከጥቂት ወራት ጀምሮ በመፅሐፍቱ አይነትም ሆነ ቁጥር መሻሻልን ቢያሳይም እኔ ቃሊቲ ከገባሁ ጀምሮ እስከቅርብ ጊዜያት ድረስ ግን ከመኖር በማይቆጠር ደረጃ የሚገኝ ነበር፡፡ ይህንን ክፍተት ቤተሰብና ጓደኞቼ በሚያስገቡልኝ መጽሐፍት ለመሙላት ባስብም ከግማሽ በላይ የሚሆኑት የሚመጡልኝ መፅሐፍት የቃሊቲን ሳንሱር እንደወደቁ ተገልፆ እኔጋ ሳይደርሱ ይመለሳሉ፡፡

ከነዚህ መፅሐፍት ዉስጥ አዲስአበባ ዩኒቨርስቲ የሚሳትማቸዉ የታሪክ መፅሐፍት ሳይቀር ይገኙበታል፡፡ ቃሊቲ ለመንፈስም አይመችም ያልኳችሁ በዚህ ብቻ አይደለም፡፡ በራሴ ወጪ ኢንድራ ጋንዲ ናሽናል ኦፕን ዩኒቨርስቲ በርቀት ፖለቲካል ሳይንስ ለማጥናት ከብዙ ዉጣ ዉረድ በኋላ ተፈቅዶልኝ የተመዘገብኩ ቢሆንም የመማሪያ ሞጁሎቹን ለማስገባት ግን የቃሊቲ አለቆች ፍቃደኛ አልነበሩም፡፡ ከብዙ ደጅጥናት በኋላ ሞጁሎቹ ሲገቡ ደግሞ በትምህርቱ ዙሪያ ላነባቸዉ የሚገቡኝ አጋዥ መፅሐፍት ስለፖለቲካ የሚያወሩ በመሆናቸዉ በፍጹም ሊገቡ እንደማይችሉ የመፅሐፍት ገምጋሚዎቹ አረዱኝ፡፡ ይባስ ብሎ በዚያን ወቅት ከሌላዉ ጊዜ በተለየ ሁኔታ ምንም አይነት መፅሐፍት እንዳይገቡልኝ በመደረጉ ለጠቅላላ ዕዉቀት ያህል ሞጁሎቹን ማንበቤን ብቀጥልም ትምህርቱ ግን በዚህና በሌሎች ምክንያት ለማቋረጥ ተገደድኩ፡፡
በቃሊቲ የኔ ብቻ ሳይሆን ከእኔ ጋር የተቀራረቡ ወይም ደግሞ ሰላምታ ያቀረቡልኝ ሰዎች ሳይቀር መብታቸዉ ተጥሷል፡፡ ከሁለት አመታት በላይ የሚሆነዉን ጊዜ በርካታ እስረኞች በነበሩበት ክፍል ያሳለፍኩ ቢሆንም እኔን እንደሌላዉ እስረኛ ለመቅረብ የሞከሩ በሙሉ ስሜትን የሚጎዳ ወከባ፣ ዘለፋና ለየት ያሉ ፍተሻዎችን አስተናግደዋል፡፡

በህክምና ጉዳይ የነበሩብኝን ችግሮች በተመለከተ ቤተሰቦቼ ደጋግመዉ የገለፁት መሠረታዊ ችግር በመሆኑ በዚህ ፅሑፍ ነካ አድርጌዉ ብቻ አልፋለሁ፡፡ ጡቴ ዉስጥ በበቀለዉ እጢ ምክንያት ጥቁር አንበሳ ሆስፒታል የህክምና ክትትል በማደርግበት ወቅት በቀጠሮዬ ቀን ወደ ሆስፒታሉ ከምወሰድባቸዉ ይልቅ የማልወሰድባቸዉ ጊዜያት ይበዙ ነበር፡፡ የግራ ጡቴ ቀዶ ጥገና ከተደረገለት በኋላ በወቅቱ ክትትል ታደርግልኝ የነበረችዉ ዶክተር በሶስተኛ ቀን የቁስሉ ፕላስትር መቀየር እንዳለበትና በሳምንቱ ደግሞ ክሩ መዉጣት እንዳለበት ገለፀችልኝ፡፡ አብረዉኝ የሚሄዱት አጃቢ ፖሊሶች ከዶክተሬም ጋር ስነጋገር እዛዉ ነዉና የሚቆሙት እንዲህ አይነቱን ነገር ለማድረግ የሚችል ጤና ጣቢያ ማረሚያ ቤቱ እንዳለዉ ተናገሩ፡፡ እኔም ቀጠሮ ቢሰጠኝ እንኳ በዚህ በአጭር ጊዜ ዉስጥ ወደሆስፒታሉ ተመልሼ መሄድ አዳጋች መሆኑን ስለማዉቅ የተባሉት ነገሮች ቃሊቲ መፈፀማቸዉን አልጠላሁትም፡፡ በመሆኑም ለህክምና ክትትል የሶስት ወራት ቀጠሮ ተሰጠኝ፡፡

ክሩ መዉጣት ባለበት ቀን ስለጉዳዩ ለጥበቃ ክፍሉ አስታወቅኩ፡፡ እነሱም አሁን ደቡብ ሱዳን ከሚገኝዉ ጦር ጋር አብራ ከተጓዘች አንዲት የህወሐት ታጋይ የነበረች ነርስ ጋር አገናኙኝ፡፡ እሷም እዛዉ ጨርሼ መምጣት እንደነበረብኝና እዚህ ክሩን ማዉጣት እንደማይችሉ ነገረችኝ፡፡ የምታሳየኝ ጥላቻ በሷ እጅ የህክምና አገልግሎት ከማግኘት ቢቀር የሚሻል መሆኑን የሚጠቁም በመሆኑ ብዙም ልከራከራት አልፈለኩም፡፡ ጉዳዩ ይመለከታቸዋል የተባሉ ሌሎች ሀላፊዎች ወደጥቁር አንበሳ ሆስፒታል እንዲወስዱኝ ብጠይቅም “ቀጠሮ የለሽም” በሚል ሰበብ ሳይወስዱብኝ ቀሩ፡፡ በአሁኑ ወቅት የቀኝ ጡቴም ተመሳሳይ እጢ ያለበት በመሆኑ ጥቁር አንበሳ ሆስፒታል ወደ ምኒሊክ ሆስፒታል ቀዶ ጥገና አደርግ ዘንድ የላከኝ ቢሆንም (ጥቁር አንበሳ ሆስፒታል በእድሳት ላይ በመሆኑ) እጅግ የከፋ ህመም ካልታመምኩ በቀር ቃሊቲ ሆኜ ቀዶጥገና ማድረጉን አልፈለኩም፡፡ በመሆኑም አልፎ አልፎ የሚሰማኝን ህመም በህመም ማስታገሻ መድሀኒቶች በማቃለል የቃሊቲን አስቀያሚ ቀኖች በመግፋት ላይ እገኛለሁ፡፡

ሌላዉ የቃሊቲ ቆይታዬን በተመለከተ ልጠቅሰዉ የምፈልገዉ ጉዳይ ከመንግስት አካላትና ከተለጣፊዎቻቸዉ ጋር ካለፍላጎቴ እንድንገናኝ እየተደረገ የሚፈፀምብኝ የሰብአዊ መብት ረገጣ ነዉ፡፡ ለምሳሌ ያህል አንዱን ብቻ ልጥቀስ፡፡ አምና መጋቢት ወር ዉስጥ አምባሳደር ጥሩነህ ዜናን ጨምሮ ከኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብት ኮሚሽን መምጣታቸዉን የገለፁ ሌሎች አስር ሰዎች ከአመት በፊት ወደገባሁበትና ከሌሎች ከአራት ሰዎች ጋር ብቻ ወደምኖርበት ክፍል መጡ፡፡ እኔም ኮሚሽኑ በተለይም ደግሞ አምባሳደሩ የሰብአዊ መብት አከባበርን አስመልክቶ የሚሰጧቸዉ ከእዉነት የራቁ መግለጫዎች የሚያሳዝኑኝ በመሆኑ ለመነጋገር ፍቃደኛ አለመሆኔን በማስታወቅ ከክፍሉ ወጥቼ በሩ ላይ ቆምኩ፡፡

ከሰዎች አንዱ የምኖርበትን ክፍልና አልጋዎቻችንን ፎቶ ሲያነሳ ተመለከትኩ፡፡ ገረመኝ፤ መሬት አንጥፌ ስተኛ፣በተደራራቢ አልጋ የላኛዉ ክፍል ላይ ከጡት ህመም ጋር እየታገልኩ ስተኛና በተፋፈገ ክፍል ዉስጥ ስኖር ለምን የሰብአዊ መብት ኮሚሽን ፎቶ አላነሳም? ማረሚያ ቤቱ በጥሩ ሁኔታ እስረኞቹን የያዘ መሆኑን ማሳያ ለማድረግ እንደተፈለገ ገመትኩ፡፡ እዉነታዉ ግን ይቺ ያለሁባት በቆርቆሮ የተሰራች ክፍልና ጠባቧ ግቢ አምና መስከረም ላይ በጠያቂዎች የመጎብኘት መብቴ መጣሱን ተከትሎ በጥድፊያ የተዘጋጀች ማግለያ ቦታ መሆኗ ነዉ፡፡ ክፍሉን ብቻ ፎቶ አንስተዉ መሄዳቸዉ ያላረካቸዉ የሰብአዊ መብት ኮሚሽን ሰዎች በማግስቱ አራት ሆነዉ መጡ፡፡ ሁለቱ ወደግቢዉ ዉስጥ ሲገቡ ሌሎቹ ሁለቱ ደግሞ በሩጋ ቆሙ፡፡ ግቢዉ ዉስጥ ከገቡት አንዱ ትላንት ለምን ላናግራቸዉ እንዳልፈለኩ ጠይቆኝ በድጋሚ ከነሱ ጋር መነጋገር ያልፈለኩበትን ምክንያት እያስረዳኋቸዉ እያለ የግቢዉ በር ክፍት ስለነበር ግቢዉ በር ጋ ከቆሙት አንዱ ፎቶ ሊያነሳኝ ሲሞክር ለመመልከት ቻልኩ፡፡ ምስሌን አንስቶ ቢሆንና ስለኔ አንዳች አይነት ዉሽት ሲናገሩ ብሰማ ጉዳዩን በዝምታ እነደማላልፈዉ ነገርኩትና ወደቤት ዉስጥ ገብቼ በሩን ዘጋሁት፡፡

ከተወሰኑ ደቂቃዎች በኋላ ከክፍሉ ወጥቼ ኢህአዴግ ማሰሩ ሳይበቃዉ ሰብአዊ መብትን ለማስከበር እንዳቋቋማቸዉ በሚናገረዉ ተለጣፊ ድርጅቶቹ ሳይቀር ሰብአዊ መብቴን ለምን እንደሚጥስ ከሀላፊዎቹ አንዷን በማስጠራት ጥያቄ አቀረብኩላት እሷም ሰዎቹ ካሜራ መያዛቸዉን እንደማታዉቅ ነገረችኝ፡፡ በ2005 ዓ.ም ከፌዴራል ማረሚያ ቤቶች የህዝብ ግኑኝነት ክፍል እኔን ለማናገር እንደመጣ የገለፀልኝ ሰዉ ኮቱ ዉስጥ ደብቆ በያዘዉ ሪከርደር ድምፄን ለመቅረፅ ሲሞክር ደርሼበት ይህንን ማድረግ የሚችለዉ የግል ፕሬስም ተገኝቶ ንግግራችንን የሚቀርፅ ከሆነ ብቻ መሆኑን ነግሬዉ ነበር፡፡ ይሄንን ያልኩበት ምክንያት የግል ፕሬሱ ባልተገኘበት ለመንግስት ሚዲያዎች ብቻ አስተያየታቸዉን የሰጡ ግለሰቦች ሀሳባቸዉ ተቆርጦና ተቀጥሎ ለማለት ያልፈለጉት ይዘት ይዞ እንደሚቀርብ አዉቅ ስለነበር ነዉ፡፡ የተናገርኩትን ሙሉዉን ነገር ቀርፀዉ ሊያወጡልኝ የሚችሉ አካላት በሌሉበት ለሰዉዬዉ አስተያየቴን መስጠት ያልፈለኩትም ይኸዉ እንዳይደርስብኝ በመስጋት ነበር፡፡ አስገራሚዉ ነገር ይቺ የኮሚሽኑ ሰዎች ካሜራ መያዛቸዉን እንደማይታወቅ የገለፀችልኝ ሀላፊ ያኔም የሰዉየዉን የድምፅ ሪከርደር መያዝ በተመለከተ ላቀረብኩላት ጥያቄ የሰጠችኝ ተመሳሳይ መልስ ነበር፡፡

የቃሊቲ ጉድ ማብቂያ ስለሌለዉ አንድ የመጨረሻ ጉዳይ ላንሳና የፅሁፌ መነሻ ወደሆነዉ የአመክሮ ጉዳይ አልፋለሁ፡፡ ዉድ አንባቢያን በሀገሪቱ ዉስጥ ያሉ የትኞቹንም እስረኞች አያያዝ የተመለከቱ ህጎችን፣ አዋጆችን፣ ደንቦችንም ሆኑ መመሪያዎችን በጣሰ ሁኔታ ከወላጆቼ በቀር ጠበቃን ጨምሮ በሌላ በማንም ሰዉ የመጎብኘት መብቴን ከተነጠቅኩ አመት ከኣራት ወራት አልፎኛል፡፡ አዛዉንት እናትና አባቴም ከእርጅና፣ ህመምና ድካም ጋር እየታገሉ የቃሊቲን ፈታኝ መንገድ መዉጣትና መዉረዳቸዉን ቀጥለዋል፡፡

ነገረ አመክሮ
ያለፈዉ አመት ነሐሴ ስምንት ቀን ከሰአት በኋላ ወደ ጠበቃ ክፍል ሃላፊዋ ቢሮ በአንዲት ፖሊስ ተጠርቼ ተወሰድኩ፡፡ እዚያም ከፌደራል ማረሚያ ቤቶች ዋናዉ መስሪያ ቤት የይቅርታና የአመክሮ ጉዳይ ክፍል እንደመጣና ኮማንደር አስቻላዉ እንደሚባል ከነገረኝ ሰዉ ጋር ተገናኘሁ፡፡ ኮማንደሩ ሰላምታ ከተለዋወጥን በኋላ ያቀረበልኝ የመጀመሪያዉ ጥቃቄ “ይቅርታ ለምን አልጠየቅሽም? ይቅርታ በመጠየቅ ላይ ያለሽ ሀሳብስ አልተቀየረም ወይ?” የሚል ነበር፡፡ ይቅርታ ያልጠየኩት ስላላጠፋሁና የተፀፀትኩበት ጉዳይ ስለሌለ በመሆኑና አሁንም ምንም የተቀየረ አቋም እንደሌለኝ አስረዳሁተ፡፡ “ይሄ የፍርድ ቤት ጉዳይ ነዉ፡፡ ፍርድ ቤቱ ጥፋተኛ እስካለሽ ድረስ ወደዚያ መመለስ አይኖርብንም” አለኝ፡፡ እኔም አምባገነኑ የኢህአዴግ መንግስት እንዳሻዉ የሚያሽከረክረዉ ፍርድቤት በንፁሃን ላይ የጥፋተኝነት ዉሳኔና ፍርድ ማስተላለፉን አሜን ብዬ ይቅርታ የምጠይቅበት ምንም አይነት ምክንያት እንደሌለ ገለፅኩለት፡፡ ጥቂት ደቂቃዎች ያህል ስለጤንነቴና በጊቢዉ ዉስጥ ስለሚያጋጥሙኝ ችግሮች በተመለከተ ጥያዎችን ስያቀርብልኝ ቆየና ወደ መጣበት ሌላዉ ዋና ጉዳይ ተመለሰ፡፡

“ቅድም ይቅርታ የማልጠይቀዉ ስላልተፀፀትኩ ነዉ ብለሻል፡፡ አመክሮ እኮ የሚሰጠዉ ለተፀፀተ ሰዉ ነዉና እንዴት ልታደርጊ ነዉ?” በማለት ስለ በአመክሮ የመፈታት አካሄድ አንዳንድ የሚኒስተሮች ምክር ቤት ደንቦችን ጭምር በመጥቀስ ሊያብራራልኝ ሞከረ፡፡ “ታዲያ እንዲህ ከሆነ በይቅርታና በአመክሮ መሀል ምንም አይነት መሰረታዊ ልዩነት የለም ማለት ነዋ?” ለሚለዉ ጥያቄ ቀጥታ መልስ ሊሰጠኝ አልፈለገም ይልቁኑ ሁሉም ታራሚ 2/3 ኛዉን የእስር ቅጣቱን ለመፈፀም ሁለት ወራት ገደማ ሲቀሩት እንደታረመና እንደተፀፀተ የሚገልፅ ፎርም መሙላት ስለሚኖርበት እኔም ለመፈታት ከፈለኩ ይህንኑ ማድረግ እንደሚጠበቅብኝ አስረግጦ ነገረኝ፡፡ የፃፍኩት የማምንበትንና መቼም ልቆምለት የምችለዉ እዉነት መሆኑን፣ በዚህ የተነሳ አሸባሪ መባሌ ደግሞ የበለጠ ኢህአዴግን እንድታገለዉ የሚየደርገኝ እንጂ የሚያፀፅተኝ ባለመሆኑ እንዲህ አይነቱን ከማንነቴ ጋር የሚቃረን ፎርም እንደማልሞላ አስረግጬ ነገርኩት፡፡

ኮማንደሩም ላልታረመና ለልተፀፀተ ሰዉ አመክሮ መስጠት ለእነሱም እንደሚከብዳቸዉ ከገለጸልኝ በኋላ “እኛ ፎርሙን ብንሞላልሽስ?” የሚል አስገራሚ ጥያቄ አቀረበልኝ፡፡ እኔ “ታርሜያለሁ” እንዳልኩ ተደርጎ ምንም አይነት ነገር ቢደረግ ሀሰት መሆኑን ከማጋለጥ ወደኋላ እንደማልል አስታወቅኩት፡፡ በዚህ አይነት ተመሳሳይ ሀሳቦች ላይ እየተሸከረከርን ጥቂት ጊዜ ከፈጀን በኋላ እንዳሰብበት አሳስቦኝ ተለያየን፡፡
ይህ ከሆነ ሁለት ወራት በኋላ የመፈቻዬ ቀን የነበረዉ ጥቅምት 14/2007 ማለፊን ተከትሎ “የአመክሮ ፎርሙን ለምን አትሞይም?” የሚል ጥያቄ ከተለያዩ ሀላፊዎች ይቀርብልኝ ጀመረ፡፡

ከህዳር አጋማሽ ጀምሮ ደግሞ ጥያቄዉ እየጨመረ መጣ፡፡ በተለይ በመጨረሻዎቹ የህዳር ወር ቀናት በአንዱ አራት ሆነዉ ክፍሌ ድረስ በመምጣት አነጋገሩኝ፡፡ ለኮማንደሩ የሰጠሁትን ምላሽ ሰጠኋቸዉ፡፡ የሃlaፊዎቹ ሁኔታ ከሁለት አመት በፊት የሆነዉን አስታወሰኝ፡፡ ያኔም የይቅርታ ፎርም ለመሙላት ፍቃደኛ ሳልሆን በመቅረቴ እንዳሁኑ ሰላማዊ በሆነ መልኩ ፎርሙን እሞላ ዘንድ ይጠይቁኝ ነበር፡፡ በእንቢታዬ ስፀና ግን የተለያዩና አብዛኛዎቹም እስከዛሬ የዘለቁ የመብት ጥሰቶችን ይፈፅመብኝ ጀመር፡፡ ያሁኑስ እምቢታዬ ምን ያስከትል ይሆን? አላዉቅም፡፡ አንድ ነገር ግን አዉቃለሁ፡፡ መታረምና መፀፀት ያለብን ኢህአዴግ በሀገር ላይ የሚያደርሰዉን ጥፋት በመቃወማችን ምክንያት የታሰርን እኛ ሳንሆን አምባገነኑ መንግስት መሆኑን!

ዉድ አንባቢያን በመጨረሻ ሰብአዊ መብቶች የተከበሩባት ኢትዮጵያን ለማየት እንዲያበቃን እየተመኘሁ፣ ለተግባራዊነቱም የምችለዉን ሁሉ እንደማደርግና እንደምከፍል ቃል እየገባሁ እሰናበታችኋለሁ፡፡ “ምን ልታደርጊ ትችያለሽ?” የምትሉኝ ካላችሁ መልሴ የሚሆነዉ ማን እንደተናገረዉ ባላስታዉስም “የፍቅር አብዮት” የተሰኘ መጸሀፍ ሳነብ ያገኘሁት አንድ አባባል ነዉ ፡፡

“ሁሉን ማድረግ አልችልም ሁሉን ማድረግ አለመቻሌ ግን የምችለዉን ከማድረግ ወደ ኋላ አያስቀረኝም”
ርዕዮት አለሙ
ከቃሊቲ እስር ቤት

posted by Daniel tesfaye

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