[Documents menu] Documents menu

Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 98 11:15:53 CST
From: Ray Mitchell <RMITCHEL%AI-UK@amnesty.org.uk>
Subject: AI: Ethiopia bulletin
Article: 28367

Ethiopia bulletin

Amnestry International Urgent Action Bulletin, AI Index: AFR 25/07/98, 20 February 1998

Abebe Abashu, folk-singer
Yadesa Bedassa, student
Alemayehu Dirro, employee of Hundee, an Oromo NGO
Ademe Gebre-Senbet, Nebe Transport Company manager
Alemu Kanaa, auditor
Sori Kitila, university student
Dawit Mekonnen, folk-singer in Gada band
Isayas Negatu, photographer
Mohamed Sheka, folk-singer in Bilisuma band
Amsalu Taye, employee of Oda company
Bekele Tefera, laboratory technician, Pasteur Clinic
Tejitu Tucho (f), business-person
Alemayehu Umatta, journalist on the official Barissa Oromo-language newspaper
Muktar Usman, folk-singer in Gada band
Hundesa Wakwaya, translator and part-time journalist for Urji newspaper, disabled
and many others

The 15 above-named are among scores of members of the Oromo ethnic group (or nationality) arrested in Addis Ababa in early February 1998 for suspected involvement with the armed opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Arrests are continuing. Amnesty International fears for their safety in view of continuing reports of torture, disappearances and extrajudicial executions of OLF suspects.

The Penal Code and Constitution require that anyone arrested should be taken to court within 48 hours, but none of the above (or others held in this continuing wave of arrests) have so far been taken to court or charged with any offence. They have also not been allowed access to their families and the whereabouts of some are not known. A number have reportedly been taken to regional prisons in Ziwai and Nazareth—towns south of Addis Ababa—or to Holeta Police Academy.


The OLF has been fighting the government in the Oromia Region since it left the government coalition in 1992. The authorities accused the OLF of urban bombings that occurred in 1997 and, in January 1998, 31 people were charged with armed conspiracy as a result. These included several prominent Oromo community activists from the Human Rights League, Mecha Tulemma Association, Urji newspaper and Oromo Relief Association (see EXTRA 153/97, AFR 25/19/97, 6 November 1997, and follow-ups AFR 25/20/97, 11 November 1997, AFR 25/22/97, 27 November 1997, and AFR 25/04/98, 16 February 1998). Amnesty International believes some of these 31 prisoners to be prisoners of conscience who have not used or advocated violence.