Posted July 18, 2012 in News

Condemn repression in Ethiopia and support the united struggle for democracy human rights and unity

In the last few days, Ethiopians and the international community have witnessed yet another repression and brutality perpetuated by the ruling TPLF/EPRDF.

On July 13, 2012, the TPLF/EPRDF controlled judiciary sentenced 24 political leaders and journalists to imprisonment ranging from 5 years to life.

Among the sentenced are Andualem Aragie, Vice Chairman and Public Relations Officer of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ), Eskender Nega, journalist and 2012 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award recipient, exiled journalists Abebe Belew, Abebe Gelaw and others.

The sentenced were found guilty of the controversial charge of ‘terrorism’, which the Government is using as a cover up to silence its prominent critics. This is a pattern that has been documented in the past when the government accused the late Professor Asrat, a famous surgeon & opposition leader, Dr Taye Woldesemayat, former President of the Ethiopian Teachers Association,  Mr Bekele Gerba, one of the leaders of Oromo National Congress (ONC) and many other prominent critics of the government with similar charges.

On the same day, the ruling groups’ security forces opened fire on the congregation gathered inside the compound of Awalia Mosque, in Addis Abeba, injuring several defenceless Muslims and killing at least 5 others.

It is to be remembered that for  the last few months, significant number of Muslims in Ethiopia have been expressing their opposition to the government’s grand plan to meddle in religious affairs, to politicize Islam and to put the religious leadership under political loyalists.

This brutality witnessed on July 13, 2012 by security forces of the ruling TPLF/EPRDF is in complete violation of religious rights as well as the right to peaceful assembly. It is a dangerous and an ill advised action with the potential to deepen animosity and escalate violence.

Clearly, besides the above  noted, as witnessed by the forced expulsion of thousands from Gurafered in Southern Ethiopia,Gambella and other locations and  the on going massacre in different parts of the country, the situation in Ethiopia has reached a very dangerous stage.

The Ethiopian People’s Congress for United Struggle (the  Shengo):

  • Unequivocally condemns the latest travesty of justice and the sentencing of the 24 individuals.
  • Unequivocally condemns the killings and other brutal actions carried out by the regime forces against Muslims at Awalia Mosque.
  • Demands that the ruling TPLF/EPRDF regime release all political prisoners immediately and with out any precondition.
  • Calls upon all Ethiopians to stand shoulder to shoulder, maintain their unity and resist any attempt to divide them among religious, ethnic and other lines.
  • Calls on the security forces and the army to refrain from implementing any repressive order by the ruling group, side with the people of Ethiopia and safeguard the unity and territorial integrity of the country.
  • Calls upon Ethiopian opposition forces to come together without delay, provide the necessary leadership and alternative that the situation requires.
  • Calls on the international community to condemn any and all forms of repression and stand by the people of Ethiopia in their struggle for democracy, respect of human rights and rule of law.