allAfrica -- The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), a member of the OMCT network, that 58 persons have been charged with treason. The 58 persons include leaders of the opposition party, journalists, as well as members of non-governmental organisations. OMCT does not yet have access to the complete list of names.
Furthermore, according to government sources, 8,000 people have been released, but they have not disclosed the total number of persons actually in detention.
The International Secretariat of OMCT remains gravely concerned by the situation
Brief reminder of the situation
OMCT was informed that a number of people were killed, wounded and arrested following street protests on 31st October 2005 in Addis Ababa. The conflict spread to towns such as Gondar, Bar Dar, Arbaminch town, Dessie, Nazareth and around.
According to the information received, almost all leaders of opposition parties have been arrested, some with their family members. Furthermore, about 18,000 youths, arrested in Addis Ababa, were taken to the Dedessa River in Wollega and are being held in an open field near the banks of the river. This is a harsh lowland infested with malaria and full of wild animals, including lions. The detainees have no shelter, food and drinking water is not easily available. There have been reports that a number of youths have been eaten by crocodiles from the river, and many have fallen ill. In addition, a truck with a trailer carrying youths arrested in Addis Ababa was overturned killing some detainees and injuring several others.
For a list (not exhaustive) of persons known to have been reportedly killed, injured and detained, please see urgent appeals Cases ETH 031105 and ETH 031105.1
Please write a letter to the authorities in Ethiopia urging them to immediately order the security forces to stop all human rights violations, and:
i. Immediately guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the above-mentioned persons;
ii. Order the immediate release of the above-mentioned persons in the absence of valid legal charges, and if such charges exist, to ensure that they are given prompt and fair trials, in which their procedural rights are guaranteed at all times;
iii. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
iv. Ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.
* Prime Minister, His Excellency Meles Zenawi, Office of the Prime Minister, P O Box 1031, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Fax:+ 251 1 552020 / 552030 (please keep trying)
* Minister of Justice, Mr Harka Haroye, Ministry of Justice, P.O. Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Fax+ 251 1 51 77 75 / 520874, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
* Ambassador Fisseha Yimer, Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations in Geneva, 56 rue de Moillebeau, Case postale 338, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland, Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: +41 22 919 70 29
Please also write to the embassies of Ethiopia in your respective country.