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Dr. Merara Lawsuit against Ethiopian regime at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights July 15, 2017

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Dr. Merara Lawsuit against Ethiopia

Dr. Merara Gudina is taking legal action against the Ethiopian regime at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights!

Represented by the Centre for the Advancement of Human Rights and Democracy in Ethiopia (CAHDE), he is challenging the unlawful killings of more than 1000 people during the 2015-16 protests in the Oromia, Amhara, and SNNP regions, and the state of emergency.

The initial complaint filed by CAHDE challenges, among other things,

The unlawful killings of more than 1000 people during the 2015-16 protests in the Oromia, Amhara, and SNNP regions;

The refusal of the government to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the killings during the protests;

The legality of the state of emergency and the proportionality of measures taken during the emergency;

As this is a massive and resource-intensive undertaking, CAHDE is trying to raise the sum of £15,000 to fund the case.

The funds raised will go towards:

·   Research and written submissions to the Commission

·    Documentation

·    Strategic third party interventions on behalf of the        complainant

Why is a legal challenge important?

In democratic countries, strategic litigation is to promote and reinforce change in policy, legislation, and institutional practice. In authoritarian states, strategic litigation is used to create awareness and publicize the broader cause.

A ‘report’ by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission found that 669 people have been killed between August and October of 2016. The ‘report’ lacks credibility and legitimacy, but most fundamentally, it commits an affront to the dignity of the deceased by failing to properly identify and publicize the victims. The public deserves nothing less than a full and complete official account of what happened and this case gives us an opportunity to force the government to publish the names of the victims.

We hope you will join us in our bid to seek justice and put on record the abuses of the government.

Please note that this fundraiser is carried out by CAHDE and the complainant had no part in the planning and execution of the fundraising.

CAHDE is a charity registered in England and Wales (Reg. No. 1164292)


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Scholars at Risk Network: Release and drop charges against Dr. Merera Gudina May 1, 2017

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Release and drop charges against Dr. Merera Gudina

May 1, 2017 — Scholars at Risk (SAR) is gravely concerned that Dr. Merera Gudina was arrested and is currently facing multiple charges in apparent retaliation for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and association. Dr. Gudina is scheduled to attend his next hearing on May 4, 2017.

SAR understands that on December 1, 2016, Dr. Gudina, a former political science professor at Addis Ababa University, returned to Ethiopia following a trip to Belgium, where he addressed members of the European Union Parliament about alleged human rights violations and the current political crisis in Ethiopia. That day, Ethiopian security officers reportedly arrested Dr. Gudina at his home for “trespassing the state of emergency rules of the country,” – specifically for violating a prohibition on communication with “banned terrorist organisations and anti-peace groups.” He was then brought to Maekelawi Prison, where he was reportedly placed in solitary confinement.

On February 23, 2017, Dr. Gudina was formally charged with violating Articles 27/1, 32/1/A & B, and 238/1 & 2 of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s Criminal Code (ECC), which are in connection to accusations that he organized widespread protests in Ethiopia since October 2016 and that he attempted to overthrow Ethiopia’s constitutional order. Dr. Gudina has additionally been charged with violating ECC Article 486/B for “giving a false and damaging statement about the government to the media,” and Article 12/1 of the State of Emergency Proclamation for the Maintenance of Public Peace and Security No.1/2016, which criminalizes contact with individuals designated by the government as terrorists. SAR understands that Dr. Gudina, who has refuted these charges in court, is scheduled to attend his next hearing on May 4, 2017.

SAR calls for emails, letters, and faxes respectfully urging the authorities to release and drop all charges against Dr. Gudina ahead of his next hearing; or, pending this, to ensure his well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and family, and his removal from solitary confinement, and to ensure that his case proceeds in a manner consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, and free expression.

Click here for more: Release and drop charges against Dr. Merera Gudina

African Studies Centre Leiden: ASCL worried about Ethiopian political scientist Dr Merera Gudina February 23, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

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ASCL worried about Ethiopian political scientist Dr Merera Gudina

A Court in Ethiopia has adjourned the case of Dr Merera Gudina on 23 February, allowing the police to investigate him for another 28 days. Dr Merera was arrested on 1 December 2016. The African Studies Centre Leiden is concerned about Merera, who is a political scientist and chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress in Ethiopia, a legal opposition party. Dr Merera has been a visiting scholar to the African Studies Centre Leiden twice and has made major contributions to the understanding of Ethiopian and African political life. He has been a consistent voice for moderation, dialogue and transparent politics.

Dr Merera has been in prison since his arrest. According to a post on Twitter from the Ethiopian Human Rights Project, the Court adjourned the case of Merera Gudina on 23 February 2017, which it also did on 26 January 2017.

Before his arrest Dr Merera had returned from a meeting on 9 November at the European Parliament in Brussels, where he had, upon invitation, briefed EP members on the situation in Ethiopia after the proclamation of the ‘state of emergency’ on 12 October 2016. Although Dr Merera has been in prison (Ma’ekälawi Prison) for nearly three months, no charges have been brought, and the ground given for his arrest was “…trespassing the state of emergency rulings of the country”, an apparent reference to the presence at the same meeting of a leader of the Ginbot-7 movement, a group seen as ‘terrorist’ by the Ethiopian government under its ‘anti-terrorism proclamation’ of 2009. This reason given for Dr Merera’s arrest seems not very convincing, as Dr Merera did not invite these members and did not organize the meeting: that was the European Parliament. Dr Merera cannot be reproached for having to meet and sit at the same table with other guests invited by the European Parliament.

Although we understand Ethiopian government’s concern with security, this arrest of Dr Merera does not fit the picture. It is well known that he and his party OFC have no violent or insurrectionist agenda, and he has always been very open and clear about his position and that of his party. The activities of this party are consistently peaceful and aimed at political dialogue and accommodation.

In prison, Dr Merera has so far neither been allowed to meet friends and relatives nor his lawyers.

The ASCL is concerned about his fate. Detaining him does not match the confidence building measures and efforts ‘to hear the voice of those that may not be represented’ in Ethiopia, a stated aim of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, e.g., in his talks with visiting German Chancellor A. Merkel on 11 October in Addis Ababa.

We therefore would like to plead for the unconditional release from prison of Dr Merera.

African Studies Centre Leiden

(photo credit: still from Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0kG6pQgFMw Ethiopia online/VoA)

WP: Ethiopia targets opposition who met with European lawmakers January 10, 2017

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January 9, 2017
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia said Monday it will not release a leading opposition figure detained under the country’s state of emergency after meeting with European lawmakers in Belgium.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters that Merara Gudina of the Oromo Federalist Congress party instead will face justice.

“Individuals in the European Parliament who are harboring anti-peace elements cannot save those who trespass the law of the country,” the prime minister said.

Merara is one of 22,000 people the prime minister said were detained under the state of emergency declared in October after widespread, sometimes deadly anti-government protests. The government has said several thousand have since been released.

Merara was arrested immediately after he returned from Belgium, where he met with the lawmakers about the state of emergency. He was accused of meeting with members of an armed Ethiopian opposition group in Brussels, an act banned under the emergency law.

Photos posted on social media show him sitting next to Birhanu Nega, leader of the armed opposition group called Ginbot 7 that mainly operates from Eritrea, and Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who crossed his wrists in a sign of protest while crossing the finish line at the Rio Olympic Games.

The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia said the state of emergency’s wide-ranging restrictions have severely affected freedoms of expression and assembly. “Tens of thousands of individuals have been arrested arbitrarily” and dissent and independent reporting have been quashed, it said.

The state of emergency is set to end in May. The prime minister did not indicate it would be extended, but he told reporters that “as far as the date of lifting the state of emergency is concerned, it should be seen in the perspective that we have to consolidate the gains that we have made so far.”


 Fox News: Ethiopia targets opposition who met with European lawmakers

Ethiopia says it will not release a leading opposition figure detained under the country’s state of emergency after meeting with European lawmakers in Belgium.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters on Monday that Merara Gudina of the Oromo Federalist Congress party instead will face justice.

The prime minister says “individuals in the European Parliament who are harboring anti-peace elements cannot save those who trespass the law of the country.”

Merara is one of 22,000 people the prime minister says were detained under the state of emergency declared in October after widespread anti-government protests.

Merara was arrested immediately after he returned from Belgium. He was accused of meeting with members of an armed Ethiopian opposition group in Brussels, an act banned under the emergency law.


 

Africa News: EU parliament writes to Ethiopian president over detained Oromo leader, Professor Merera Gudina December 16, 2016

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ETHIOPIA

The European Parliament (EP) has officially written to the Ethiopian government seeking clarification on the arrest of an opposition leader, Dr. Merera Gudina.

The EP President, Martin Schulz, in a letter to President Mulatu Teshome said they were disturbed about the arrest of the Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) leader. The EP also reiterated its call for the charges against Gudina to be made known.

‘‘It appears that Dr Gudina was arrested by Ethiopian authorities upon his return from a short stay in Brussels in early November, during which he also met with Members of the European Parliament,’‘ the letter read.

I would like to remind you, that the European Parliament is a House of democracy, where different voices can be heard, from foreign governments as well as representatives of opposition groups.

The letter stated that the Ethiopian ambassador in Brussels had said the Gudina’s detention was connected with contacts he had with individuals Addis Ababa deemed as ‘terrorists.’ It added that it was ‘rather unfortunate that his arrest is linked to meetings he had with the European parliament.

‘‘I would like to remind you, that the European Parliament is a House of democracy, where different voices can be heard, from foreign governments as well as representatives of opposition groups,’‘ the letter added.

Late last month, Ethiopian security forces arrested the academician who is the chairman of the OFC, shortly after his arrival in the capital Addis Ababa.

Prof. Merera was returning from Brussels where – together with other Ethiopian activists and the Olympian athlete Feyisa Lellisa – he had had a meeting with Members of the European Parliament on 9 November 2016.

SUGGESTED READING Ethiopia: A year after protests started – Timeline of events [1]

Arrested for flouting curfew rules

The state-affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate however quoted authorities as saying that Gudina was arrested because he had flouted the State Of Emergency currently being enforced nationwide.

According to FANA, the Secretariat of the Command Post said Gudina violated an article of the law which prohibited any communication with banned terrorist organizations and anti-peace groups. “He is under investigation for violating this article,” the Command Post said.

The European Parliament adopted an urgency resolution on the violent crackdown on protesters in January 2016, which requested that the Ethiopian authorities stop using anti-terrorism legislation to repress political opponents, dissidents, human rights defenders, other civil society actors and independent journalists.

Since January 2016 the human rights situation in Ethiopia has not improved at all. Human Rights Watch reports that security forces have killed more than 500 people during protests over the course of 2016.


 

EU: The Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) was shocked at arrest of leading Ethiopian opposition figure Prof. Merera Gudina December 6, 2016

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The Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) was shocked at arrest of leading Ethiopian opposition figure Prof. Merera Gudina after his recent meeting with MEPs

Press release – Human rights05-12-2016 – 17:52


EU

(EP) DROI, Elena Valenciano (S&D, ES), made the following statement:

“On 30 November Ethiopian security forces detained the chairman of the Ethiopian opposition party ‘Oromo Federalist Congress’ (OFC), Professor Merera Gudina, shortly after his arrival in

Addis Ababa.

Prof. Merera was returning from Brussels where – together with other Ethiopian activists and the Olympian athlete Feyisa Lellisa – he had had a meeting with MEPs on 9 November 2016.

I urge the Ethiopian Government to make public any charges it has brought against Prof. Merera and I will continue to follow his case very closely.

The European Parliament adopted an urgency resolution on the violent crackdown on protesters in January 2016, which requested that the Ethiopian authorities stop using anti-terrorism legislation to repress political opponents, dissidents, human rights defenders, other civil society actors and independent journalists.

Since January 2016 the human rights situation in Ethiopia has not improved at all. Human Rights Watch reports that security forces have killed more than 500 people during protests over the course of 2016. Moreover the state of emergency has led to further significant restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. I therefore reiterate Parliament’s demands as set out in its resolution.

The European Parliament is aware of the difficult situation in Ethiopia and stresses the need to continue to support the Ethiopian people.”