Monday, July 31, 2006

Systematic harassment of the prisoners

TPLF is increasing its maltreatment of the jailed CUDP leaders, journalists and social justice advocates. With the court hearing their case to have a summer recess soon and with the outside world giving less and less attention, the prisoners fear the worst. The signs indicate that their fear is not out of reality. Recently when a usual conflict occurred between other prisoners, the prison security officers gathered all the prisoners and told them that the persistent prison conflicts were occurring because of the CUDP leaders. In a clear attempt to instigate violence on the CUDP prisoners, one officer in particular said that other prisoners should watch out the CUDP leaders who caused the death of hundreds. Pro-TPLF police officers have also upped their verbal harassment. They were sometimes heard calling the prisoners "Traitors who sold Ethiopia to Somalia."
Those who had come from the countryside to visit the prisoners used to have a right of visitation on weekdays. Since last week, this right had been cancelled. Journalist Eskinder Nega was also transferred to Kerchelle last Thursday. His wife, Serkalem Fasil, remained in Kaliti. The couples used to see each other(without touching each other) on Weekends. The transfer of Eskinder has made that impossible. Serkalem is now suffering from sever depression as she left her unhealthy new baby to her mother and the prison authorities denied her of an opportunity to see her husband.
Prison sources said that all these are part of a systematic attempt to hurt the prisoners who are still showing incredible defiance and unbendable spirit.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A power sharing deal on the air? I like this

Lidetu and Temesgen are traveling to the US today. My parliamentary informants have discovered TPLF's elaborate strategy to kill the bill, HR 5680. TPLF has already proposed a power sharing agreement with the Lame duck opposition in parliament. According to the informants, Temesgen's Teletafu Kinjit and Lidetu's EDP-medhin are placed to get few ministerial posts. They are already told to submit the CVs of their members to the American Embassy here in Addis. Part of the message to the American law makers will be the democrartic process is going on so well that the opposition is to get a power sharing deal.

EZ's verdict:
In Long Walk to Freedom Mandela recounted how he and Oliver Tambo received the news differently when that the Nationalist Party which run with a platform of creating apartheid won the election in 1948. "I was stunned and dismayed, but Oliver took a more considered line. 'I like this,' he said. 'I like this.' I could not imagine why. He explained, 'now we will know exactly who our enemies are and where we stand.' "
There were people, readers of this blog and others, who tried to give Temesgen a benefit of doubt while demonising Lidetu. If the power-sharing arrangement will go as planned both will be in the same basket as TPLF. They will once and for all take away their cloak of an opposition. I really Like this. Now we know whom to fight and how.
The counter-message in diaspora for the law makers should be:
-There are still thousands of political prisoners in Ethiopia including the true Kinijit leaders, journalists and anti-poverty campaigners
-There is no free speech, no free press, no freedom of demonstration, assembly (constitutional rights are still suspended by the TPLF's fiat)
-The government still has the monopoly on the state media.
-That critical websites are still closed
-That the causes of the death and destruction on June 8 and Nov. 1 aren't yet investigated independently
- There are still violence and clashes all over the country
The bill addresses overall democratic issues, not power-sharing agreement with lame duck opposition. All demands of the bill are yet to be met.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lidetu and Temesgen to campaign against HR 5680

They travel to US
Lidetu Ayalew and Temsgen Zewde will travel to the United States next month. Parliamentary sources informed this blogger that the two will meet US lawmakers and tell them there is a democratic process in Ethiopia which should be supported by US. They will be tavelling as opposition politicians.
The trip is organized by the US embassy in Addis and its aim is to kill the Human Rights Bill, HR 5680. This blogger will post the exact date of the two will travel to the US. The HR 5680 task force and other freedom loving Ethiopians should be alert about the situation.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Muslims protest at Arat kilo

The federal police storm a place where muslims pray at Arat Kilo to demolish the place at 9;30 this morning and met a strong resistance. Eye witnesses sad that more than hundred young muslims threw rocks on the federal police which responded by sealing roads and driving them out of the place. Some non-muslims also joined the protest. Although the place wasn't a proper mosque, it was frequented by young muslims who attend prayers. The provisional city government declared that the place belonged to another owner.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Policemen fear being used for Meles Zenawi's misadventure

EPRDF is giving anti-terrorism training for more than a thousand federal policemen at Blate military training camp. Informants at the federal police confirmed to this blogger that 1400 members of the federal police are in the military camp for special training. The trainees were told about terrorism in East Africa and terrorism by anti-peace elements at home. According to other informants, there will be additional policemen, mostly from the Addis Ababa police force, who will be taken to Blate for same training. Some who fear a call up are already deserting the force.
The Ethiopian military is being stretched across the country's border as Meles Zenawi's illegitimate government it is in a problem with all its neighbors. Although the government is not reporting its misadventure to Somalia, People in Addis Ababa, who got news for VOA, have been seriously opposing the intervention of Ethiopian forces in Somalian domestic affairs. Members of the police force are anxious that they may be taken to warfront as a back up for the army.
Thousands of members of the Addis Ababa police force are already undergoing through a very tough training regime at the Hurso military camp.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Professor Mesfin's moral courage

The great teacher of non-violent resistance , Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, is still a great moral leader in prison. Prison sources say despite his suffering and sometimes poor health Professor Mesfin's spirit is incredible. He teaches fellow prisoners, political and non-political, the wisdom of Ghandi and the honour of suffering for freedom. He is cheerful and appearing to get younger everytime. Sources say that he seems to cherish his suffering for love and freedom as the past great leaders of non-violent movement in other parts of the world. His stature and teaching is also rekindling hope in all political prisoners. Professor Mesfin thinks ethical principles are not worth much if they only remain intellectual doodads. In August last year, He was quoted as saying that his prayer was to die and not to kill. The great man is living his prayers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Peasants forced to become EPRDF members

Peasants in the Amhara region are being forced to join ANDM. According to sources, particularly in western Gojam where kinijit won by a landslide , ANDM cadres threaten and blackmail farmers to be the member of the organization. The farmers are also required to pay 3 birr as a registration fee.
After Amnesty International reported its concern about Birhanu Nega's health, the court which is hearing the prosecutor's case against Kinijit finally ordered prison authorities to move Birhanu to a less suffocated and more ventiallted cell. Last week, the same court had refused Birhanu's request for the transfer citing jurisidictional grounds.
The public prosecutor asked the court today to present a new 900 pages document as an evidence against the Kinijit leaders, journalists and civil society members who are accused of false charges of high treason and attempted genocide. The court as expected granted the prosecutor's request.

Monday, July 17, 2006

TPLF will continue repression

The meeting of EPRDF cadres and officials the whole of last week was concluded with an understanding that there are still elements of the opposition at large who are destabilizing the government. According to some participants, the officials told the cadres that they should be ready for a further action against the Kinijit supporters who collaborate with the diaspora to bring down the government.TPLF is continuing its repression unabated. The political space is completely closed. Civic organizations like CRDA are under serious threat. Surrogate bar association is formed. There is no free press.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor in charge of the Kinijit trial will finish presenting documentary evidence next Wednesday.
Kinijit executive member Shaleka Getachew Mengste is having serious health problems. Doctors at the Police Hospital said that he has a life threatning testicular infection. Since imprisonment, Shaleka Getachew had undergone a surgery for prostate cancer.
After this blog posted the financial problems of the families of many of imprisoned Kinijit members, some readers suggested that I make a call for Ethiopians in diaspora to sponsor families. I thought it is better for my security if a trusted volunteer/volunteers outside of Ethiopia take an intiative to create a fund for them. I may help in other aspects once the fund is created. Since Kinijit in NA has failed to fulfil its duties, let's think about other ways of helping the families of our heroes and heroines. Please put forward your suggestions.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Plea from jailed leaders as their health conditions worsen

(by Seminawork contributor)
EPRDF is punishing the jailed leaders of Kinijit by denying proper medical care and attention. On Tuesday, eight prisoners made a plea to the court to order prisoner authorities to imrove their medical care. According to sources, Birhanu Nega's helath is worsening by the day. The authorities have refused to accept the recommendation of doctors to move him to another cell. Instead, more than 50 people, some of them with serious health problems, were moved to his cell last week, pushing the number of prisoners in that cell to more than 450.
Even the younger leaders aren't spared of the medical problem. The youngest of all, Muluneh Eyuel, is suffering from eyesight problems. It was believed that his condition was caused due to his confinement in solitary cell without proper light for more than a month. Birtukan Mediksa is also having minor skin problems caused due to poor hygiene conditions.
Adil's court refused the plea of the prisoners, raising jurisidictional issues. The prisoners ask for a more concerted effort to make human right organizations and foriegn governments aware of their plight.
Meanwhile, some of the families of the prisoners are having serious financial problems. Except for the few top leaders, support for many of the prisoners has been non-existent for the last two months.

PS: It had been difficult for me to access the internet for the last ten days as I was out of Addis Ababa . I thank those who were really worried about my well-being. The above news was compliled by a contributor to this blog.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Parliamentary Kinijit in disarray

MPs of the surrogate Kinijit which was formed with the help of the American embassy in Addis are in disarray. Some members of the party are leading a coup against the TPLF-backed leadership of Temesgen Zewde and Mohammed. Yesterday these members distributed leaflets which stated that the Teletafi kinijit was acting against the true leaders of the party who are in prison. They claimed that they supported the creation of a new Kinijit because it was promised by the coordinators that the aim of the organization would be fighting for the release of the legitimate leaders and handing over power to them when it accomplished that aim. "Now the leaflet, " asserted, "these coordinators are acting in a way that betrays the leaders."
Both Temesgen Zewde and Mohammed had been in negotiation with government about parliamentary procedures. It was also reported that Temesgen Zewde asked the government to give the leaders of the surrogate Kinijit protection against attacks by the supporters of the real Kinijit.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Birhanu Nega's health condition relapses

A week after he was released form hopsital, Birhanu Nega is suffering form breathing problems. According to prison sources, the symptoms are back. When he left hospital, doctors had recommended that his cell be changed. Prison officials have yet to heed the recommendation and Birhanu is still in the worst cell in kaliti prison. He spends 13 hours with 400 people. Doctors think that his health will be okay if only he gets to live in a well-ventilated cell. There is also a fear that the resurfaced problem may affect his heart.
Meanwhile, Serkalem Fasil's new born baby is in critical condition. This blogger learns that the baby was less than 2 kilos when he was born. Although doctors at the police hospital suggested that he should get incubation at Tikur Ambessa, the TA adminstrators refused to admit him claiming that either of his parents should be present. They are both in TPLF jail.