In December 2006, Shimeles Capitone, 50, went to Germany for a business trip where an Ethiopian family hosted him. When he returned back, the family asked him to deliver 300 Euros to their relative in Addis. Shimeles courteously agreed, never knowing that it would be a pretext for the government to put him in one of the most degrading jails in the world.
Two days before Christmas, Shimeles was on his way to deliver the money to the recipient when he was pulled over and arrested by federal policemen. Alongside him in the car was his mechanic. Shimeles had planned to get his car fixed after delivering the money. The police officers told both men that they were in custody and searched the car where they found CDs of religious songs. Shimeles who works at the Lufthansa is, according to his colleagues, a devoted protestant.
His family had looked for him for days and presumed he might have died. He suffers from serious diabetes. It was only after a friend spotted the car parked outside of Mae'kelawi that they thought he might be alive. The federal police later confirmed that they had him in custody with the mechanic. The mechanic was released two weeks after the arrest.
Subsequent searches of Shimele's house by the police turned no incriminating evidence. Therefore, when they brought him before the ad hoc remand court near the Mexico Square, police accused him of transferring money from Europe to a clandestine cell in Ethiopia. The 300 Euros was presented as proof. Court attendants said that his bulged eye and fractured nose were visible signs that he was abused. This blogger's sources at Mae'kelawi alleged that he was tortured.
Shimeles is part of the group of people who have been accused of attempting to instigate unlawful armed struggle and dissension in the country. Most of them have been tortured. Fasika Tafa is one of them. He was arrested on the same day as Shimeles while he was dropping his daughter at the Gibson Academy. Police presented as evidence the 160,000 birr that was transferred via the Hibret bank in his name. They claimed the money was transferred to him for clandestine activities. At the time of the arrest, he didn't receive the money. His name was found on the money transfer list of the bank, the ad hoc remand court was told by Police. Fasika, however, insisted that he had been receiving money from his family abroad for business purposes for many years and this wasn't an exception.
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- ▼ February (17)