January 20, 2009

HRLHA Press Release No. 15: Harrassments and Intimidations Against Oromos Continued!

HRLHA Press Release No 15, January 2009
Harassments and Intimidations against Oromos Continued
EPRDF Introduces New Form of Torture

Finfine/ Addis Ababa;-In a continued campaign of harassments and intimidations in various parts of the state of Oromia in Ethiopia, 22 other Oromo civilians have arbitrarily been arrested and taken into custody in the past fifteen days. Among the 22 most recent arrests were Mr. Dachasa Marga, a lecturer with Rift Valley University College, and Mr. Sileshi Dagafa, whose detailed identity was not know at the moment.

According to information gathered by HRLHA agents in the Capital Addis Ababa, the Oromo detainees have been subjected to the newly introduced form of torture described as “Silent Torture”. Upon their first appearance in court on January 9, 2009, Mr. Dachasa Marga and Mr. Sileshi Dagafa complained before the judges that they themselves and other Oromos detained with them have, at different times, been forced to spend about fifteen hours in standing position. The two have been scheduled to reappear in court on the 22nd of January, 2009.

Western Oromia;- HRLHA agents have also obtained the names of six Oromo farmers who have been being held in solitary confinement for the last three and a half months.

Gurricho Fida,

Gaddafa Mosisa,

Dame Qanno,

Gammachu Birrasa,

Tariku Raaga, and

Naga Berhanu were picked up from different parts of Wollega Province, Western Oromia on and around October 7, 2008 and taken to Finfine/ Addis Ababa, where they have been detained since then, and which is about 600 kilometers away from their home villages. None of the families and friends of those six detainees has heard from them ever since they were arbitrarily arrested on alleged political grounds.

Eastern Oromia;-In a separate arbitrary action taken by members of the Federal Army and regional police on January 04, 2009 in Hararge Province of Eastern Oromia/ Ethiopia, a businessman has been shot dead and two others wounded, according to information obtained by HRLHA local correspondents.

Mr. Abadir Jamal (age 26), an Oromo national originally from Masal District in Hararge, died instantly from two gun shots by the army members, while Mr. Dasi Mohammed (another Oromo national) and Mr. Abdi Maddi (a Somali national from Wachalet Town) were severely wounded and taken to Imach Hospital. The residents of Harar and Awaday towns took to the streets protesting against the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Abadir Jamal. The local administration responded to the demonstration by arresting and detaining dozens of local residents.

Brief update

The 16 detained (under the file that includes Bekele Jiraataa)

Mr Bekele Jirata and his (fifteen) codefendants complained in court about the newly introduced “Silent Torture” (to be placed in standing position for about fifteen hours), which is said to have been adopted by the EPRDF for it does not leave behind any physically noticeable symptoms. Mr Bekele Jirata and his (fifteen) codefendants were among the most recent batches of Oromo detainees arbitrarily arrested mainly from the Capital and nearby areas for allegedly supporting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) (HRLHA Press Release No 14). The HRLHA has learnt that Mr Bekele Jirata and his codefendants have now been transferred to Aqaqi Prison, located on the southern periphery of the Capital. Their next court appearance is on the 20th of January, 2009.

HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate release of the detainees and halt of this killing innocent citizens, mass arrest and imprisonment of innocent Oromo civilians by the Ethiopian government.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

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