Wednesday, December 17, 2008

HRLHA Press Release No. 14: Another Batch of Oromos Face Another Bundle of Charges

HRLHA Press Release No 14
Another Batch of Oromos Face Another
Bundle of Charges
HRLHA Considers Them Prisoners of Conscience

Among the numerous civilian Oromos who have been detained during the most recent wave of arrest and imprisonment, sixteen of them have been charged with an allegedly politically motivated crime.

This bundle of charges, according to documents obtained by HRLHA reporters, is based on the allegations that the Oromo suspects were involved in a network of opposition groups, described as “Network 123”, who has allegedly committed crimes that range from killing people by planting and detonating explosives to causing damages to properties. The 38-page document has contained about eleven different counts of charges.

This newly charged batch of suspected Oromos is headed by Mr. Tesfahun Chamada and Mr. Mesfin Abebe, whose whereabouts were not known for the last two years, and who were said to have masterminded the alleged crimes. The families and friends of both Mr. Tesfahun and Mr. Mesfin, who were overwhelmed by the hardly expected emergence of the two from almost nowhere, and after a two-year disappearance, were not surprised by the charges filed against them. Both Mr. Tesfahun and Mr. Mesfin were civil engineers working and living in the Capital Addis Ababa.
The co-defendants of Mr. Tesfahun and Mr. Mesfin, who are from various walks of life, are the following:
1. Mr. Bekele Jiraataa Raasaa, an agricultural expert with master’s degree,
2. Mr. Wabii Hajii Joorsoo, a Law graduate,
3. Mr. Kebede Boranaa Imaanaa, an Accountant,
4. Mr. Bekele Nagarii Guddaa,
5. Mr. Eshetu Kitil, an entrepreneur who own a big hotel in the Capital,
6. Mr. Roobaa Gaddafaa Badhaadhaa, a Statistician,
7. Mr. Olaanaa Jabeessaa Jaaluu, a graduate of Police College and member of the Force with the rank of Colonel,
8. Haile Dalasaa Hundisaa, a university student,
9. Dejene Dhaabaa Kebebe, a student,
10. Lalisee Wadaajoo Fidaa(female), a student,
11. Aberash Yaaddessaa (female),
12. Baayyisaa Huseen Muhaammad, a student,
13. Bogale Moosisaa Leggese, a student, and
14. Mr. Dejene Booranaa Imaanaa, brother of Mr. Kebede Borena (above).

All defendants, who appeared in Federal High Court, Second Criminal Bench on December 15, 2008, were taken back to the Ma’ikelawi Central Investigation, where they are currently being held.

HRLHA has also learnt that Artist Zerihun Wodajo and some other Oromos, among the rest of the victims of this most recent wave of arrests and imprisonments, have also been charged in a separate file with less serious crimes.
All defendants, except Dejene Dhaabaa and Baayisaa Hussen, are from the Capital Addis Ababa. The HRLHA considers all defendants to be prisoners of conscience; as they have been arrested, imprisoned and charged for attempting to exercise their democratic political rights as well as their freedom of thought based on their ethnic identity.

Since the TPLF/EPRDF Government took full control of power in 1992, countless batches of Oromos and other ethnic groups have ended up in prisons and faced countless bundles of political charges which are usually replicas of each other. In a country like Ethiopia, with the poorest economy and a more of patriarchal society, HRLHA is highly concerned about the negative impacts of such endless, unfounded and indiscriminate political actions on the already devastated socio-economic situation in the country; as such actions usually target the relatively educated, skilled, experienced and relatively productive segments of the society, and individuals who are in most cases heads of families.

HRLHA calls on governments of the West, regional and international diplomatic communities and human rights agencies to join hands and try to pressurize the Ethiopian Government so that it refrains from politically intimidating its own peoples, and instead engage itself other resources in improving the ever worsening economic situation.

HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It has aimed at defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It has also aimed at raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It has intended to work on 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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