British political prisoner’s life threatened by Ethiopian dictatorship


This video says about itself:

Brave Young Girl Fights For Her Activist Father To Be Freed From Prison | Good Morning Britain

Broadcast on 2/06/2016

Menabe Andargachew wrote to the Prime Minister and the Queen to ask for more help in getting her father released from prison in Ethiopa, where he is being held on death row for criticising the government.

By Sofia Lotto Persio in Britain:

Government sued by daughter of man on Ethiopia‘s death row

Wednesday 7th September 2016

THE nine-year-old daughter of a British activist facing execution in Ethiopia is suing the British government for failing to press for her father’s release. Menabe Tsege’s case against the Foreign Office will be heard at the High Court in London today.

Her lawyers began judicial proceedings over ministers’ handling of the case of her father, Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, a British citizen and exiled leader of Ethiopian opposition movement Ginbot 7.

He was kidnapped in June 2014 while transiting through Yemen and illegally rendered to Ethiopia, where he had been sentenced to death at a trial in absentia in 2009.

According to the lawyers, the illegality of Mr Tsege’s kidnapping, detention and death sentence makes the British government’s stance unlawful.
The Foreign Office has not requested his release but has merely asked the Ethiopian government to allow him access to a lawyer.

International human rights organisation Reprieve warned that Mr Tsege has no chance of receiving a fair trial.

“It’s clear that Andy faces no prospect of due process in Ethiopia, as he’s already received an illegal in absentia death sentence which the Ethiopian government has confirmed he has no hope of appealing,” said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve.

“The British government must not allow Andy’s abuse to go on any longer. It must urgently call for his release, so that he can return to his family in London. ”During a visit to Ethiopia in June, then foreign secretary Philip Hammond said he had “received a commitment from the prime minister that Mr Tsege will be allowed access to independent legal advice,” but this promise has yet to be kept.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson published an open letter on August 26 pledging that the government would continue to request that Mr Tsege be allowed access to legal representation and seek to ensure that the death sentence is not carried out.

“Britain does not interfere in the legal systems of other countries by challenging convictions,” Mr Johnson added.

Ethiopian government lies on deathly prison fire


This video from the USA says about itself:

Huge protest in Washington DC against the Ethiopian regime

9 August 2016

Ethiopians in the United States staged a huge protest in the capital Washington DC. Protesters denounced the killing of peaceful protesters in Ethiopia by the regime forces and they extend unwavering solidarity to the Ethiopian people’s struggle for freedom.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Ethiopian government covered up extent of prison fire

Today, 20:51

A fire at a prison in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa was much more serious than the government at first wanted people to believe. There are 23 dead, and not one, as the government reported on Saturday.

The Kilinto prison is located in a suburb of the capital and also imprisons members of the opposition and journalists. The circumstances in which the fire broke out are unclear. The government says it has started an investigation.

A statement that was issued today states that 21 prisoners died from suffocation or that they were overrun. Two others were killed when they tried to escape, the government says. …

The government is accused of murder and mistreatment of opponents. Voices of Oromo and Amhara people, who constitute a majority of the population but feel disadvantaged, are heard more and more loudly.

Marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa protests, Ethiopian government kills


This video says about itself:

Rio 2016: SHOCKING! Feyisa Lilesa can be jailed or evenkilled when returning to his country

22 August 2016

FEARLESS: RIO OLYMPICS 2016: ETHIOPIAN RUNNER FEYISA LILESA COULD BE KILLED WHEN HE RETURNS HOME AFTER STAGING DARING PROTEST AGAINST COUNTRY’S GOVERNMENT

ETHIOPIAN marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa could be killed when he returns home after staging a daring protest against his country’s government at the Rio Olympics.

Lilesa, who took silver in the gruelling run, crossed his arms above his head to unite with the 35 million Oromo people as they are locked in a brutal battle with the Ethiopian government.

Ethiopian security forces are needlessly slaughtering hundreds of people as they crack down on anti-government protests and are reallocating the farmland of Oromo people.

The crossed arms above the head is a gesture made by the Oromo people as a sign of solidarity.

Lilesa, who then protested again when receiving his medal, admits he could be killed if he returns home.

He said: “If not kill me, they will put me in prison.

“I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country.

“I have relatives in prison back home.

“If you talk about democracy they kill you. It is very dangerous in my country.

“Oromo is my tribe, Oromo people now protest what is right, for peace, for a place.

“I was protesting for people everywhere who have no freedom.”

The government have plans to build property on the farmland surrounding the country’s capital leading to huge demonstrations.

It is believed that over 400 people have been murdered in recent weeks for protesting.

Lilesa could be stripped of his medal as Olympic rules claim that an athlete is not allowed to use the Games as a political display or protest.

By Joe Williams:

Ethiopian government kills 100 civilians as protests sweep country

26 August 2016

International attention was focused on repression of the Oromo people in Ethiopia by the US-backed government in Addis Ababa, after Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa crossed the finish line August 21 with his arms crossed above his head, a gesture to condemn the government’s violent attacks on protesters in the Oromia region, where he was born.

Lilesa repeated the action during the award ceremony following the race, where he received the silver medal for finishing second. The 26-year-old refused to board the plane bearing Ethiopian athletes back to their home country from Rio de Janeiro, and indicated he might seek political asylum in the United States. He has a wife and children in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian officials refused to discuss his status or his medal-winning performance.

Earlier this month, Ethiopian security forces killed 100 people while putting down protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. Deadly clashes took place in 10 Oromo towns, including Ambo, Dembi Dolo and Nekempt, while the violence in Amhara was focused on the city of Bahir Dar. Residents believe about 60 people were killed there.

The Oromia protests have been ongoing since November 2015, when the government resumed efforts to implement the Addis Ababa and the Surrounding Oromia Special Zone Integrated Development Plan. Popularly known simply as “the Master Plan,” it involves seizing land from its Oromo owners for little or no compensation so that it can be sold to international developers. Amnesty International estimates that 400 Oromo have been killed in the nine months since protests began, with tens of thousands more detained, and likely tortured.

The fact that the protests have spread to the Amhara region is a significant development that doubtlessly alarmed the government, and may have contributed to its decision to dramatically escalate the violence of its response. The Amhara and Oromo are historical enemies, and the government has exploited their enmity to keep the two influential ethnic groups fighting each other.

The government overplayed its hand, however, by attempting to arrest activists in the Amharic city of Gondar in July. They were opposing land grabs in the Wolkayt district similar to the ones being imposed on the Oromo, and the attempt at arresting them provoked two days of deadly clashes between civilians and security forces, and triggered mass consciousness of the fact that both ethnic groups are being manipulated against each other for the interests of the government. Two weeks later, tens of thousands of Amhara protesters took to the streets to declare solidarity with the Oromo.

Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, compared the protests to the most intense uprisings of the Palestinians against Zionist occupying forces, saying, “These protests are at the level of an intifada—people in their own ways are resisting the government pressure and demanding their rights. … I don’t think it’s going to die down.”

The protests come several weeks after the government shut down social media web sites for three days, possibly as a test run in anticipation of the uprising. The government’s claim that it did so to prevent students from being distracted during exams has now been exposed as a lie, as it took the exact same measures in response to the protests now sweeping the country. The botched arrest of activists that triggered the protests in Amhara took place during the supposedly exam-related Internet shutdown.

The government has been trying to control the flow of information since last year, when the country suffered a drought that has cut economic growth in half. The worst drought in over a decade, it caused a social and political crisis. The number of people receiving emergency food assistance more than doubled to 10.2 million, schools and hospitals have been shut down, and hundreds of thousands of children are experiencing malnutrition. A similar drought in 2011 killed 200,000 people in neighboring Somalia.

As the government came under fire domestically and internationally for its failure to respond to the crisis, it tried to intimidate journalists from covering it. According to Allafrica.com, “NGOs are being warned not to use the words ‘famine, starvation or death’ in their food appeals. Neither are they to say that ‘children are dying on a daily basis,’ or refer to ‘widespread famine’ or say that ‘the policies of the government in Ethiopia are partially to blame.’ Neither are they allowed to ‘compare the current crisis to the famine of the eighties.’ Instead, the latest drought in Ethiopia is to be described as ‘food insecurity caused by a drought related to El Nino.’” The last two Ethiopian regimes were overthrown during droughts that devastated the economy and caused food shortages.

The US embassy in Addis Ababa released a statement that tacitly supported the government’s actions. While claiming to be “deeply concerned” and expressing “deep condolences” to the dead and injured, the statement seeks to place the blame on the victims, noting that “the demonstrations took place without authorization,” along with the standard implorations to “all parties” to remain peaceful.

In 2015, [United States] Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman described Ethiopia as “a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair, credible, open and inclusive. … Every time there is an election, it gets better and better.” In fact, that election proved to be a farce. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) received 100 percent of the vote, and the mass incarceration of political activists, including most of the leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress, followed shortly thereafter.

The EPRDF government has provided basing for US drone operations and is propping up the US-backed regime in Somalia. Addis Ababa is currently hosting an emergency meeting of US allies in eastern Africa to form a Force Intervention Brigade to stabilize South Sudan. Unlike the UN peacekeeping mission currently deployed there, the Force Intervention Brigade will be authorized to carry out offensive missions.

Ethiopia, Olympics medalist Lilesa and oppression


This 21 August 2016 video is called Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa’s Protest at Rio 2016.

By Chauncey K Robinson:

Medallist highlights plight of his people

Thursday 25th August 2016

Marathon silver medal winner Feyisa Lilesa gestured his protest at Ethiopia’s government treatment of the Oromo.

The Olympic Games of 2016 held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil may have come to a close as of August 21, but many of the triumphs and controversies will continue to be talked about long after the closing ceremony. One such incident was that of Olympic marathon runner and silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa’s protest on Sunday against the government of his country of Ethiopia.

Lilesa defied the Olympics’ prohibition on political statements to shine a light for the world on what is happening in his home country. In doing so he may have also risked his life.

As he crossed the finish line of the marathon last Sunday, he raised his arms and crossed them above his head in an X — a gesture of protest against his country’s government. He did so again at the awards ceremony after accepting his silver medal.

In a press conference held after the ceremony, Lilesa explained that his protest came from his sense of duty to his family and to his people.

The Ethiopian government are killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting, and I support the protest as I am Oromo,” he explained.

“I was protesting for my people,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported him saying. “It was for all my relatives in prison. I am worried to ask my relatives to talk in prison — if you talk you get killed.”

Lilesa’s bold statement comes in the midst of the growing political unrest in Ethiopia, a nation once regarded as Africa’s most stable nation of the last decade.

Although the country has seen an economic boom in the last 10 years, in recent months anti-government protests have filled the streets. These demonstrations have been met with state violence — video clips have been shared around the world of police officers beating unarmed demonstrators. They show security officers whipping protesters with sticks as they are forced to perform handstands against a wall. The UN is now calling for a thorough investigation of these incidents.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch the government of Ethiopia has used “excessive and lethal force against largely peaceful protests” in Oromia, the country’s largest region, since November 2015. According to HRW “over 400 people are estimated to have been killed, thousands injured, tens of thousands arrested and hundreds, likely more, have been victims of enforced disappearances.”

“The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe,” Lilesa was quoted in The Washington Post.

The Oromo people — Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group — have a history of speaking out against their marginalisation by the government. They, along with the Amhara people, feel Ethiopia is unfairly dominated by members of the Tigrayan ethnic group, which makes up only 6 per cent of the population yet dominate the military, the intelligence services, commerce and politics.

In what was considered a controversial national election the governing party — Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front — won all 547 parliamentary seats last May thus taking full control of parliament.

The Oromo people have also been fighting against an urban plan — referred to as the master plan — that would link infrastructure development in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, with that of surrounding towns in Oromia, including Burayu. Activists say the plan threatens the sovereignty of Oromo communities.

Despite reports that Lilesa’s protest was not broadcast in Ethiopia it still quickly attracted supporters on social media as Twitter users chimed in on how the political gesture brought attention to the struggle of the Oromo people. Freelance journalist Mohammed Ademo twitted, “#FeyisaLelisa’s career with the Ethiopian Athletics Federation ended tonight. But his courageous act of protest is one for the history books.”

The silver medallist also said: “It is a very bad government [Ethiopian]. Now America, England, France support this government. When they give this support it buys machine guns, then they kill the people.”

The government has played down the unrest of recent months, claiming that “the attempted demonstrations were orchestrated by foreign enemies from near and far in partnership with local forces.” Lilesa’s bold public gesture is in direct defiance of that claim as the world now has a face for the resistance in Ethiopia.

“If I go back to Ethiopia maybe they will kill me. If not kill me, they will put me in prison. I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country,” the Olympic runner said at a press conference.

Whatever happens, the world is now watching as Lilesa risked his life and his career for a cause that he considers much bigger than himself or an Olympic medal.

Will Ethiopian dictatorship kill silver medal athlete?


Feyisa Lilesa, AFP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Gesture may get Ethiopian marathon runner into big trouble

21 August 2016

With his arms crossed over his head Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa arrived at the Olympics finish line. Second runner, so he won silver. But the political gesture he made could have major implications for him.

Being Oromo, 26-year-old Lilesa belongs to the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. Oromo are 40 percent of the population, but feel left behind politically. That has lead to tensions in the African country.

Earlier this month possibly hundreds of people died when police ended a protest by Oromos who refused to give up farmland for the expansion of the capital Addis Ababa. In previous clashes also hundreds of people died.

Not popular

The crossed arms, with hands in fists, is the symbol of the Oromo struggle. Crossing the finish line this way, Lilesa made a strong statement, which was broadcast live on Ethiopian television. That will not have made him popular to the Ethiopian rulers.

Lilesa realized that afterwards too. To journalists he said he may be killed if he would return to his country, or may end up in jail. “Maybe I should go to another country,” he concluded. He is considering to stay in Brazil or, failing that, to go to the US.

The United States government, like the British government, considering the Ethiopian government an ally in the war in Somalia, I am not sure how welcome Lilesa would be in the USA.

However, Lilesa in Ethiopia has a wife and two children. How he sees their future was not clear in his conversation with the press. Maybe they will be arrested, he said.

Charter

His political statement can also have other consequences for Lilesa. According to the Olympic Charter expressing political messages is forbidden. But whether Lilesa can keep his silver medal will not be his main concern.

Ethiopian regime killing demonstrators again


This video says about itself:

Ethiopia: dozens of protesters killed by security forces, claims Human Rights Watch

19 December 2015

At least 75 people have been killed during weeks of protests in Ethiopia.

That’s according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which says soldiers and police have been firing on demonstrators.

From the BBC:

‘Several killed’ as Ethiopia police clash with protesters

7 August 2016

Several people are feared dead in clashes in north-western Ethiopia between police and anti-government protesters, amid a wave of unrest.

On Saturday police arrested dozens of demonstrators during massive rallies in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The government has been facing protests from the two largest ethnic communities over alleged human rights abuses and other issues.

Authorities have banned demonstrations and blocked social media.

Despite the ban, people took to the streets in several parts of the country for a third consecutive day on Sunday, Emmanuel Igunza reports from Addis Ababa.

The worst violence took place in the north-western city of Bahir Dar in the Amhara region – the homeland of the Amhara people.

Police used tear gas and fired in the air to disperse thousands of people who had blocked roads and chanted anti-government slogans.

Unconfirmed reports say several people were killed. One resident told the BBC he had seen a friend being shot in the head by security forces.

Overnight protests continued in the Oromia region, which surrounds Addis Ababa, with police arresting dozens of people.

The unrest was sparked last November by a plan to expand the capital into Oromia. This led to fears farmers from the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, would be displaced.

The plan was later dropped but protests continued, highlighting issues such as marginalisation and human rights.

Oromo activists say police have killed hundreds and arrested thousands of people from their community in recent months.

From the BBC today:

Funerals are taking place after a weekend of violent protests in Ethiopia’s north-western city of Bahir Dar.

The authorities there told the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza that at least seven people were killed and dozens arrested during anti-government demonstrations.

On Sunday, police used tear gas and fired in the air to disperse thousands of people who had barricaded roads.

Activists say the number of those killed is much higher.

The BBC has learnt that two young men are being buried today. It is believed that they were both killed by security forces.

There have also been protests in Ethiopia’s Oromia region with local media reporting that dozens of people were shot dead in towns across the region, though the exact number is yet to be confirmed.

Hundreds of protesters in various towns and cities – including the capital, Addis Ababa – have been arrested for taking part in the demonstrations that have been banned by the government.

Briton in Ethiopian torture prison, British government fails


This video says about itself:

Atrocious Torture and Inhuman Treatment in Ethiopia…part 1

30 June 2013

It is a personal testimony of a person who was detained and tortured by the tyrannical regime in Ethiopia.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Foreign Office ‘fails to help Londoner jailed in Ethiopia

Thursday 23rd June 2016

ETHIOPIAN authorities have fooled Britain’s Foreign Office again and again in the case of opposition leader Andy Tsege, human rights charity Reprieve warned yesterday.

Newly released documents show that Ethiopian officials have done everything possible to frustrate attempts by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to rescue Londoner Andargachew “Andy” Tsege.

The father of three was taken forcibly to Ethiopia in the summer of 2014 and has been held on death row ever since.

Foreign Office documents from 2015 show Mr Hammond complaining about Ethiopia’s “repeated failure to deliver on our basic requests,” adding: “People were asking why we had a substantial bilateral relationship but were not able to resolve this.”

Other files show how the Ethiopian authorities refused to say where Mr Tsege was locked up, cancelled planned consular visits and ignored simple questions on the legal basis for his detention.

Reprieve, which has been campaigning for Mr Tsege’s release, said it feared for his mental and physical well-being as torture of political prisoners is not uncommon in Ethiopia.

The group’s death penalty team director Maya Foa said: “Throughout Andy’s two-year ordeal, Ethiopian officials have repeatedly run rings around the Foreign Office — making and breaking the most basic of assurances, and insisting, again and again, that Andy has no legal rights in Ethiopia.

“By relying on the latest empty promise of ‘legal access,’ Philip Hammond is only compounding the abuses Andy has suffered in illegal Ethiopian detention.

“Enough is enough — the Foreign Secretary must call for Andy’s release, so he can return to his family in the UK.”