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

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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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.

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Scholars At Risk Net Work: Release Scholar-Activist Bekele Gerba March 16, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Baqqalaa Garbaa.
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Release Scholar-Activist Bekele Gerba

March 16, 2017 – Scholars at Risk (SAR) is concerned over the arrest and ongoing incommunicado detention of Professor Bekele Gerba, a foreign language professor at Addis Ababa University and the deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), who is facing terrorism-related charges that apparently stem from his peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and association.

SAR understands that on December 23, 2015, Ethiopian federal security forces arrested Professor Gerba, a prominent Oromo rights activist, after entering and searching his home. His arrest occurred against a backdrop of protests and intensifying clashes between the Ethiopian government and supporters of the rights of the Oromo minority, over the government’s renewed implementation of its “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan.” Sources suggest that Professor Gerba’s arrest was a reaction to the protests taking place across the Oromia region.

Upon his arrest, Professor Gerba’s family and witnesses were reportedly told that he would be taken to Maekalawi prison, where they could visit him in 24 hours. The day he was scheduled to appear in court, however, Professor Gerba allegedly disappeared and has since been held incommunicado. SAR understands that on April 22, 2016, an Ethiopian court brought terrorism-related charges against Professor Gerba and 21 others in connection with the protests. Prosecutors have since presented as evidence videos of a speech Professor Gerba gave at an August 2015 conference organized by the Oromo Studies Association and a December 2015 interview with a foreign-based, Ethiopian media outlet. SAR further understands that Professor Gerba has reported that he and his co-defendants have suffered ill-treatment during their detention.

SAR calls for emails, letters, and faxes respectfully urging the authorities to release and drop all charges against Professor Gerba; or, pending this, to ensure his well-being while in custody, including access to legal counsel and family, 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.

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