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Saturday, November 05, 2005

ActionAid Staff Member Arrested in Ethiopia

Daniel Bekele, ActionAid International’s policy manager in Ethiopia, has been arrested and detained in Addis Ababa without charge. image

We, the civil society of the world under the banner of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), were saddened to hear of the detention without charge of Ethiopian citizen, GCAP activist and the Policy, Research and Advocacy Manager for Action Aid Ethiopia, Ato Daniel Bekele. His incarceration by the security forces from November 1, is in direct violation of his rights under Article 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the African Charter of Human Rights of Human Rights adopted on June 27, 1981 and of which the Ethiopian government is a signatory. It would be distressing if Ethiopia, which is the seat of the African Union, was in direct violation of these articles and would show a flaunting disregard for that organisation that we all hold in high esteem.

Prior to this Bekele, who is being held incommunicado, had been attacked on October 16 by two armed men believed to be government security forces. Before using physical violence, the men warned him against criticising EPRDF then proceeded to assault him causing injuries to the head and to his left eye. The Ethiopian newspaper Eftin reported that when they asked for justification for the assault, a party official and the Head of Police, denied any knowledge of Bekele’s assault.

We, the undersigned organisations, are appalled by the Ethiopian security forces’ cavalier actions. In a country with a poverty rate of 44 percent, we would hope that the government would work with its civil society for the betterment of Ethiopian citizens instead of antagonising them as is clearly the case with Bekele.

We live in hope, Your Excellencies, that the events surrounding Bekele’s arrest will be thoroughly investigated and that the perpetrators of this gross injustice receive their just dues.

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