Thursday, October 26, 2006

EC intervens to save Yalemzewd

After an intevention from some high level EC officials including the president, José Manuel Barroso, Yalemzewd Bekele, the human rights lawyer, is released on police bail at 7;25 pm local time today. She was taken to woreda 8 police station and then told that she was released on police bail.
This is a result of citizen action!

Yalemzewd released

Yalemzewd Bekele is released twenty minutes ago on police bail from woreda 8.
(more latter)

Yalemzewd taken to a torture chamber

Yalemzewd Bekele and Fasil Assefa were taken to the notorious torture chamber at Woreda 8 where the businessman Almemayehu Fantu is detained and tortured. Both are at a high risk of torture. All people detained there in connection to the distribution of the civil disobedience calendar have been tortured.
Call to action:
-Tell the EC to save its employee from torture. The head of delegation in Ethiopia hasn't done enough.
1. Head of Delegation to Ethiopia
Tim Clarke
Tel: +251-11-661 2511
Fax: +251-11-661 2877
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111

2. Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
Louis Michel
Tel: +32-2-295 9600 or +32-2-295 2718
Fax: +32-2-292 1485
Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111
-Inform Amnesty International that there is an imminent risk of torture to Yalemzewd Bekele and Fasil Assefa
Martin Hill

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Comedy in parliament and court

After judge Woldemichael Meshesha leaked the report of the Inquiry committee set up by parliament and a six hours video which showed when the members of the inquiry debate and cast their votes last Wednesday, the government scrambled to issue a tonned down version of the report to parliament today. Woldemichael's report which was confirmed by the chairperson of the inquiry committee, Frehiwot Samuel, accused government of massacring demonstrators. The tonned down version presented to parliament stated the same number of people dead and injured as the leaked report but blamed the killing on the lack of democratic culture.
Meanwhile in the court, which is hearing the public prosecutor's case against CUD leaders, social justice advocates and journalists, the prosecutor presented eight witnesses. One of them testified that she was a member of AEUP and was present in one meeting when the leaders of the party were inciting people for a struggle against the government. When she was asked to name some members of AEUP by the judge, she started with Dr. Birhanu Nega. The packed court cascaded into laughter. Birhanu Nega was a founder of keste Demena, one of the other three parties that formed a coalition with AEUP to establish the CUD. The same witness also said the abbreviation UEDP stood for Ethiopian Democratic movement.
There was more drama to come. Another witness who claimed to be a businessman testified that he was present when Eng. Gizachew Shiferaw's house was searched by the police. He was asked where he worked and he answered that his shop was infront of the Gizachew's house.
Judge: Are you sure you worked in front of the defendant's house
Wit: Yes

When Engineer Gizachew who was not defending himself joked that the compound in front of his house belonged to Bole Secondary School, the confused witness said he didn't mean that he worked in front of the house but in a small shop a few blocks from the house.

Family denied access to jailed Ethiopian human rights lawyer

Family members of Yalemzewd Bekele were denied access to the human rights lawyer. Yalemzewd who was arrested at the border town of Moyale last week was brought to Addis Ababa today and put at the notorious Mae'kelawi Prison.
This blogger learnt that she hadn't taken food for the last two days and was physically weak when she arrived at Addis Ababa today with the two other individuals who were arrested with her at Moyale. Her family who took food to her late in the afternoon were denied access to her. The EC delegation in Addis Ababa where Yalemzewd worked as a lawyer hasn't yet tried to contact her.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Latest on Yalemzewd Bekele

Yalemzewd Bekele, Fasil Assefa and another unnamed individual will be back to Addis Ababa tomorrow. The Federal police will be in charge of investigating their "crimes". Sources said that they will be at a more risk of torture under the custody of federal police. The EC delegation in Addis Ababa, Yalemzewd's employer, isn't following the case seriously despite Amnesty International's warning that she may face torture and reports in this blog that the Ethiopian Government was spying on the institution before the expulsion of the two diplomats and the arrest of Yalemzewd. This blogger has identified the senior official who asked Yalemzewd to leave the commission's office while she was staying there to avoid arrest. According to EC sources, it was the delegation's chief Timothy Clark. He assured her that he would follow her case with government officals but didn't do anything before her arrest.
Fasil Assefa is identified as a Unity University Management Information Systems student. He was arrested while sleeping at his hotel. The Ethiopian government falsely claimed that Fasil was taken into custody while he was trying to cross the Ethiopian border with Yalemzewd.

See more on EC espionage here and here

Call to action:
Please tell Ambassador Timothy Clark that his institution has a responsiblity to take Yalemzewd's case seriously and protect her from state violence.
-Head of Delegation to Ethiopia
-Tim ClarkeTel: +251-11-661 2511Fax: +251-11-661 2877
-Main switchboard phone number: +32-2-299 1111

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More on EC espionage

Yalemzewd Bekele appeared before a local court at Moyale today even though courts in Ethiopia are normally closed on Saturdays. The judge granted the police a five days remand. According to security sources, an investigator named Adane who arrived from Awassa after she was arrested is following her case with Tamrat Genanaw, security personnel. She was taken to a police station after the court apperance where she was told to sleep on a floor without mattress and blanket. It was reported that she was firm and not talking to investigators eventhough they tried to roughen her up. She was held at the immigration office before being taken to the police station.
Meanwhile, more reports about the EC espionage are coming out. The man who was investigating Yalemzewd was carrying a photo of her and her expelled boss eating Pizza the day she was stranded at the delegation's office here in Addis. Another photo of her and other delegation staff was also taken in a farewell party held for an expatriate staff. Both photos were, according to security sources, taken by Sibhatu and Brothers, the firm in charge of the delegation's compound security and handed over to Ethiopian security.
The Meles government will be in serious trouble once the EU investigates the espionage claim.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Alert and Breaking News: Ethiopian Government's biggest conspiracy and espionage exposed

Ethiopian government's espionage against European Commission is exposed. The Ethiopian government claimed on Thursday that it had expelled two EU diplomats who were trying to smuggle two Ethiopian fugitives who committed serious crimes. According to Security sources, the two diplomats weren't arrested at the border town of Moyale but more than 157 miles away from the border while they were traveling back to Addis Ababa. They didn't try to cross the border. The car was stopped near the town of Agre Mariam. Yalemzewd was arrested when she was checking at the Moyale immigration office as a regular traveler to Kenya. She was told to hang on and plain-clothed security guys picked her up and took her to a detention center. Fasil Assefa the man who was arrested with her was taken from Koket Borena hotel while he was sleeping. He wasn't trying to cross the border.
Security sources said that the whole episode was pre-arranged. When police issued an arrest warrant against Yalemzewd on Thursday she stayed the night at the compound of the EC delegation in Addis Ababa where she was working. The delegation's security was contracted out to Sibihatu and Brothers, a company owned by Mimi Sibhatu's Family and managed by her brother. The information that she was staying at the compound was passed by this company to government security. According to our security sources, Yalemzewd's conversation with the two expelled diplomats and Tim Clark, the delegation's head was being tapped by the company and passed to the Ethiopian security. Her subsequent stay at the house of Bjorn Jonsoon, her immediate boss was also reported by Sibhatu and Brothers to the Ethiopian security.
On Wednesday the Ethiopian security had advanced knowledge(from espionage in the EC delegation's office by Sebhatu and Brothers) that the two diplomats were taking Yalemzewd to the border. They thought the diplomats would try to take her to Kenya, crossing the border. Instead the two diplomats dropped her at the town of Moyale where she met Fasil who was seeing her off. She checked out hotel at 9 am. Fasil stayed there. She went to Moyale Immigration Office and showed her passport. She was detained at the checking point.
When the security personel who were waiting for her knew that she was not with the diplomats, they immediately reported it to Addis Ababa where decision was taken to arrest them on the road. "The Ethiopian government has spilled over pieces of evidence that it was spying the EC here and there,"our security sources said, "any serious investigation on the part of the EU would reveal that easily."
Sebhatu and Brothers is also in charge of the security of other key foreign interests in Addis Ababa and international hotels including the Hilton.

Alert for international journalists:
The expelled diplomats will be in Brussels today. They should be asked where they were arrested.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A prominent human rights campaigner arrested

Yalemzewd Bekele, a prominent human rights activist and a lawyer working for the European Commission in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, was arrested on the morning of 19 October by the Ethiopian authorities, while trying to cross the border to Kenya with another Ethiopian. Police issued a warant of arrest against Yalemzewd last week accusing her of distributing a civil disobedience calendar. According to police sources, both of them are held at the Ethio-Kenyan border.
Meanwhile, police claimed that it had arrested two European Commission staffers,Bjorn JONSSON Head of Finance and Contract department of the delegation in Ethiopia and Enrico SBORGI who works at the good governance department, for trying to help Yalemzewd escape.
(more latter)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Meles rejects observer's report

Ethiopia's dictator, Meles Zenawi, rejected the interim observation report of Michael Elman, European Commission's observer, regarding the trial of CUD leaders, civil society members and journalists. In a meeting with the Ambassadors of the EU Troika and the commission's representative here in Addis, Timothy Clark, Meles lambasted the observation report as biased and unfounded on facts. The observer had criticized the way the court conducted the trial as unfair. Meles who rejected the report of the European Election Observers Mission last year requested to meet Mr. Elman, a renowned British human rights lawyer to make his case against the report.
When the election report by EU's mission went against him, Meles started a personal assault against the head of the mission, Ana Gomes.
Will he again write a letter to the editor of the Ethiopian Herald attacking the human rights lawyer?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Breaking News: Alemayehu tortured... Save Alemayehu!

Prominent businessman Alemayehu Fantu was severly tortured. He appeared before a court yesterday barely able to walk from the torture. Alemayehu was arrested last week. Police said he was suspected of distributing a calendar which contains the pictures of imprisoned CUD leaders and a call for their release. He was arrested after Mimi Sibhatu's Iftin published that he master-minded the printing and distribution of the calendar. A task force comprising eight investigators has been formed to follow up the distribution of Brehanu Nega's book and the calendar. All suspects who were detained by the task force were tortured. At least three were killed.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Police arrest a local businessman

Alemayehu Fantu, owner of the famous Fantu supermarket chains in Addis Ababa and a rising young businessman, was arrested by the Federal Police on Thursday. Police took the action after Mimi Sibhatu's Eftin reported that he was involved in distributing calendars. The former VOA journalist, Mimi, is personally witch- hunting people who she thinks have connections with the opposition.
Alemayehu was taken to a notorious torture chamber near the place called "Enkulal Fabrika". He appeared in court on Friday. The court remanded Alemayehu in custody.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ginbot 97

We know their dream;enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in verse-
Wondwossen Gutu and Shibre Dessalegn
Wassihun kebede, Getnet Ayalew and more
Now and in time to be,
wherever the green, yellow and red is worn
All changed, changed utterly:
A horrible beauty is born.

(To the young Martyrs of the Ethiopian struggle to democracy)
Adopted From W.B Yeats' 'Easter 1916'.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Government moves to cover up political murder

Unknown agents ordered the family of the murdered young Kinijit activist, Wondwossen Gutu, by a federal police member on Sunday not to give evidence about the killing to another group or people. After taking Wondwossen's photos and some of his personal belongings from his home yesterday, these agents told family members that giving evidence about the murder would harm them; close friends of the family told this blogger.
Wondwossen Gutu(pic), 16, joined Kinijit as a fresh high school student during the election time; actively distributing the party's manifesto and messages among students. After the imprisonment of the leaders of the party, Wondwossen joined the Tegbar League activists. He was organizing protests and boycott of exams in his school, Medihanealem. In the beginning of September, he was spotted distributing the civil disobedience calendar which called for the release of Kinijit's leaders. Friends said that he had managed to escape from federal police members who were looking for him several times. On Sunday, a policeman shot dead Wondwossen while he was returning to his house after watching a football game in a nearby sports cafe.
Yesterday, TPLF's mouthpiece, The Reporter, tried to cover up the political murder. It claimed that the policeman shot Wondwossen because he was acting as a suspect and had some disagreement with him. Quoting the notorious Kinijit hater and torturer, Commander Girma Kassa, Head of Addis Ababa Police Commission's Criminal Investigation Bureau, the paper reported that the policeman was arrested. One of Wondwossen's friends contacted by this blogger said that the policeman was a federal police member who had failed to capture the young activist in previous attempts; and not the city's police officer as stated by The Reporter

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another EC snub

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of European Commission, skipped a scheduled signing ceremony with Ethiopia's illegitimate dictator, Meles Zenawi, for the 155 million euro granted by the EU to the road project in Ethiopia. He also cancelled a joint press conference with the prime Minister, diplomatic sources told this blogger. The Commissioner's request to meet the CUD leaders in kaliti was turned down by the Prime Minister who said that the EPRDF Central Committee had decided that the prisoners would not be visited by foreign dignitaries until the trial is over. Diplomatic sources said that Barroso, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, was annoyed with Meles's response. The two had hours of one-on-one talk about the prisoners and democracy in Ethiopia. Barroso was said to be very frank about Ethiopia's lack of democracy to TPLF officials.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ethiopia's dictator snubbed by EC

European Commission's high level delegation led by the President, Jose Manuel Barroso, declined Meles Zenawi's breakfast invitation. Although the official reason given by the delegation was that it wasn't part of their schedule, sources said that it was a polite rebuke of the dictator's repression in Ethiopia.
The delegation met the Prime minister at the scheduled time latter.
Wondwosen Gutu, a Medhanialem Secondary school student, who was an active Kinijit organizer at the school was killed by a federal police member yesterday. Wondwossen, 16, was involved in distributing the civil disobedience calendar which called for the release of political prisoners. He was shot dead by the policeman while he was returning home after watching an English Premier League game in a nearby sports cafe.
Wondwossen........ your sacrifice won't be in vain.