Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SOS: Cry of help from brothers in torture chamber

Federal police in Ethiopia has intensified its torture on prisoners who are accused of cooperating with Ethiopian patriots' front to overthrow the government with force. The prisoners were rounded up from different parts of the country in December 2006.

After Amnesty International's report exposed that some of these prisoners had been tortured at Maekelawi prison, they were transferred to Kirkos Sub-city jail in Kera. The torture has since been intensified even more.

Police sources said that some of the prisoners have been subject to prolonged period of torture. Foot whipping is the most often used technique of torture against the prisoners.

Action alert:

We need to save our brothers from the brutality they are facing.

- Please write letters to International Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and inform them about what is happening.
-Write or call international media outlets to inform them about the torture

The following is the partially complete list of the torture victims. Some of the names might have been mentioned on previous posts.














































To comment on this forum, first, get a google account here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Forum rules... Again!

As usual some EPRDF rogue agents and violent and intolerant opposition elements are over flooding the comment section of my blog with random hate messages.
I have repeatedly tried to use the comment moderator to filter out these worst members of our society. I haven't used it continually though because I have qualms acting as a policeman in the forum and suppress free speech. After all, one of the reasons for my loudest criticism against EPRDF is its closure of all public space.
Yet some posters are using that to completely derail civil debate on seminawork. I will start to use the comment moderator again. This time only registered users can post. Those who are able and willing to engage in civilized discourse shouldn't feel discouraged to post their comments. This is a free market of ideas. The only non-saleable item is poison.
To comment on this forum, first, get a google account here.

The two core rules of this forum:

-Seminawork doesn't tolerate negative ethno-analysis. No Ethnic, religious or cultural group may be defamed, slurred or verbally attacked here.
-Apology for murder, torture and other forms of human rights abuses is prohibited in this forum.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Meles adminstration plans Information offensive against Amnesty International

The Ethiopian government plans to wage a campaign to discredit Amnesty International after the human rights group published names of tortured prisoners and exposed the country to some international condemnation.

The campaign will include allowing local and international journalists to access prisoners who were mentioned on Amnesty torture alert. The prisoners were moved from Maekelawi prison in the northern part of Addis Ababa to Kirkos district Addis Ababa police prison two weeks ago. Police sources said that the prisoners were warned against talking about their torture when journalists visited them. Yesterday, five prisoners were taken back to Maekelawi and videotaped by Police. Among them was Zenebe Tadesse. His name was mentioned on AI's list. The prisoners were instructed to deny the torture stories on the video. Two of them refused and claimed that they had been severely beaten and tortured for alleged crimes they never committed. Sources confirmed that the video tape was intended to be broadcast on the state TV.

EPRDF officials have been unhappy that stories relating to Ethiopia on major news outlets recently have carried the torture stories. Police sources said that the order to discredit Amnesty came from unnamed top officials. An elaborate plan of information offensive against the rights group has already been completed, according to government sources. This includes waging a smear campaign to show that Amnesty is being used as an instrument by the Ethiopian opposition in Diaspora.

This blogger will publish the complete list of tortured prisoners soon.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Team of lawyers to write decisions for judges in political trials

EPRDF's control of the judiciary has reached new heights. Well-placed sources inside the ministry of justice informed this blogger that a team of lawyers has been formed to write decisions for judges in political trials. According to the sources, this is an audacious attempt to show the international community that the decisions are well reasoned and fair.

The team wrote its first decision for the court that was in charge of the case of Shaleka Aregaw et al. Shaleka Aregaw and three other people were accused of trying to overthrow the government through unconstitutional means. The court reduced the charge of lawyer Brehane Mogesse and set him free on bail while the other three were told to defend the charge presented by the prosecutor.

The sources said that the written decision was passed to the court when it was in session and the judges read it immediately. "They didn't even know what was written before they read it in public," one source said. The decision was well-written and well-reasoned. "The factual and legal analysis was good and I was surprised that it was made by the panel of judges led by Assefa Abreha. The latter was known for his erratic and flimsy analysis," a lawyer who has seen the decision told this blogger.

The team of lawyers includes Million Assefa, a famous apologist for the Meles regime. Million is known for his wonderful legal mind.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Economist's sword on Meles

The Economist which calls itself a newspaper(even though it looks like a magazine) defends market and social liberalism. Whether one has qualms with its philosophy or not, there is no debate that the paper's unique opinionated features have no match.
The Economist had cautiously supported dictator Meles Zenawi for trying to improve the lot of Ethiopian living in extreme poverty. The rampage on November 1 changed all that. Since then it has published seriously critical articles about the Meles government and its human rights abuses. The Economist was the first reputable international "newspaper" to publish the Yalemzewd Bekele and Alemayehu Fantu story. Its stories about Ethiopia dig deep into forgotten places and talk about forgotten people. Today's issue has another fantastic article on Ethiopia. This is the last paragraph:
  • In September, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians from their vast and far-flung diaspora are expected to visit their homeland to celebrate the coming of the third Christian millennium, according to their ancient church's calendar. Some hope Mr Zenawi, in a gesture of conciliation, will free some of his opponents from jail before then. But do not bet on it. Mr Zenawi has got used to wielding an iron fist.
I can't agree more. Hats off to the greatest "newspaper" in the world.

Staying positive

Girma Kassa, a regular writer on ET websites called on TPLF members to end their silence in the face of gross injustice. I agree with all of Girma's points. We shouldn't stop calling for dialog with EPRDF without putting our eyes off the human rights abuses and injustices it is committing. We should also desist from any push towards armed struggle. Ethiopia can't afford more wars.
I, for one, will continue exposing EPRDF's repression. I ask my readers to do the same without indulging in the worst forms of ethnic slurs which I sometimes see in the forum of this blog.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dr. Mulualem defects to Sweden... Yeah?

Finally..........yes, Finally.....Dr. Mulualem Tarekegne has understood how joining the parliament undermined the CUD leaders in prison. Well, she didn't even say that in those words.
I don't know whether the defection of Dr. Mulualem to Sweden can be seen as positive or opportunistic. But here is her record.
Prior to May 2005..... Mulualem had appeared on live debate about agricultural policy and wooed the public with her eloquence, passion and beauty. She immediately step out of her husband's shadow and became a rising star in Ethiopian politics. She was elected to parliament with resounding majority.
May 2005-August 2005.....Dr. Mulualem continued her charm politics on the private media, developing her trust and likeability.
August 2005.......After internal intrigues, Dr. Mulualem was handpicked by Lidetu Ayalew to represent UEDP Medhin in CUDP's executive committee.
September 2005......Dr. Mulualem voted not to join parliament unless CUDP's eight points precondition weren't met.
-Dr. Mulualem supported Lidetu Aylew in his fight with the top leaders of CUDP. Her argument was that Lidetu was hurt by the party
October 2005... Lidetu, Mulualem, Mesfin Ayalew, Mushe Semu and Abdurhaman(all from UEDP) start serious disagreement with the leaders of the party. They were boycotting meetings and talking about the dissolution of Kinijit.
-Lidetu was suspended from the party. Mesfin, Mushe and Abdurhaman stuck with him. Mulualem stopped talking, but .
October 2005-February 2006.... Dr. Mulualem continued her relationship with Lidetu. She visited the prisoners a handful of times. She wasn't trusted though.
February 2006....Mulualem joined parliament and the CUD caucus which was formed illegally with the help of EPRDF and the American embassy. She joined parliament despite her vote not to join in September... and despite that vote landing the leaders in jail.
Judge for yourself.

Family Affair

By Seminawork contributor

Detailed information regarding last week's meeting between family members of Kinijit's leaders and Donald Yamamoto, the US Ambassador in Ethiopia, has been obtained by Seminawork.

According to American Embassy sources, members of the families of Brehnau Nega, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, Hailu Shawel and Yacob Woldemariam were asked to appear at the Embassy last Thursday on short notice. At the meeting, the US Ambassador appeared with Ethiopia's greatest Athlete, Haile Gebresillasie and Ambassador Bekele. Both have been mediating talks between the jailed Kinijit leaders and the Meles administration.

After the family members were briefed about the talks by Haile and Ambassador Bekele, they were told that the government wanted the jailed leaders to apologize for conspiring to overthrow it. A letter of apology drafted by the EPRDF was also shown to them. Ambassador Yamomoto assured the family members that if the prisoners signed the lettter, his office would guarantee their release.

Brehnau's father Ato Nega spoke first. He recalled how he taught his son integrity and dignity when he was a kid and refused to take the letter to his son. "My son was taught of dignity and integrity. He fought for his country when he was not more than 15. He then went to your country and learned about democracy. He returned to Ethiopia to help his country. When EPRDF claimed that there would be democracy, he participated in election and was jailed for that. Am I going to tell him to ditch his self-respect and apologize for the wrong he didn't commit?" Ato Nega said with tittering, low voice.

His mother Woizero Abebech was even more forceful. "My son has told me that he wouldn't die twice. If he signed this, he would die twice." Dr. Yacob's sister Almenesh claimed that Ethiopian politics isn't an family affair and the families of the jailed leaders have no right to decide on the fate of the nation.

According to the sources, neither Ambassador Yamomoto nor the two Ethiopian mediators acted on bad-faith. "There was an urge and want to help. Yamomoto did not comment a lot. He listened. Haile and ambassador Bekele also talked about saving the country and reconciliation," one source said.

Ambassador Yamomoto has thrown himself on solving the current political crisis right from the first date of his arrival. American embassy staff said his attitude and approach has been quite contrasting with the former charge d'affaires, Vicki Huddelstone who was acting as Meles's messenger.

EZ will resume blogging tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

EZ diary: Meles and the docs

Meles's famously imaginative mind has come up with a brilliant new plan, and it is supposed to solve the crisis in our health sector. Our talkative PM was part of the discussion on the shortage of doctors in Ethiopian health institutions. Estimates put that there is one doctor for 30 thousand Ethiopians.

Among the main reasons for the shortage of doctors raised in the discussion was their flight to countries paying better than Ethiopia; Botswana and Malawi being the main destinations. More than 80% of Ethiopian trained doctors are living and working abroad.

Meles was unconcerned with the scarcity of physicians in Ethiopia. He told the participants of the discussion that Ethiopia did not need doctors. Astonished health officials and physicians heard the sophomore dropout from medical school say; "We don't need doctors in Ethiopia. What we need are health officers. We will train five thousand in three years. Let the doctors leave to wherever they want. They should get no special treatment." Whatever we say about Meles, he does not stop surprising us. What next? Dismantling the medical faculties which train doctors?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

For readers of this blog in Ethiopia

... You can visit the website without using anonymous proxy servers.
Please use to visit the blog. It will take you to the site directly and all contents of the page, including the advertisements, are displayed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lawyer released by court after a year in detention

Berhane Mogese, the lawyer who was accused of trying to overthrow the government through unconstitutional means, was released by court today after a year of detention. Berhane was arrested in March 2006. (See My first article on this blog entitled State Terrorism As A way Of Life)

The court decided that the evidence presented by the public prosecutor against him did not prove that he committed the crime. The judges reduced the charge to illegal possession of weapons and released the defendant against a bail of five thousand birr. The prosecutor produced "seditious" articles printed from the internet and the case files related to the CUD prisoners in Kaliti. The court

argued that neither the internet articles nor the files indicated his intention to commit the crime as charged by the prosecutor. "The papers found in his possession are his client's, not his," the court said. Berhane Mogesse was the attorney for Hailu Shawel, Kinijit's chairman.

Three other people accused of the same crime were acquitted and thirteen others including Tadios Tantu and Shaleka Argaw, both members of CUD, were told to defend themselves.


Shimeles Kemal, the prosecutor in charge of the trial of CUD leaders, has left to Ottawa in a government mission. According to sources, he is scheduled to return to Addis Ababa just before the trial of the leaders resume on February 19. He is accompanied by the State Minister of Justice, Dr. Hashim Mohammed. Read Shimeles kemal's role in the witch hunt of democracy activists in Ethiopia here.


Paul Vallely wrote in the independent what one might only describe as "A-why-was-it-written-article". I was neither a news nor a news analysis. It doesn't have characters of a feature article or a commentary. It seems one of Meles Zenawi's best friends has enough of the media's bashing of the Prime Minister and decided for a call to arms in defense of his friend. Paul Vallely co-wrote the report of the now defunct Commission for Africa with Meles Zenawi. It was a nice, comprehensive report... but among the first breakers of the report's recommendations was Meles himself.
Vallely's friendship with Meles dates back to the 1980s. Yet for a man who has advocated justice for the third world all his life, it is morally repugnant to defend a murderer and torturer whether he is a friend or not. The article was more than a case of bad
Samaritanism Mr Vallely...It was advocacy to the devil.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Maekelawi stories CONTINUED...

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.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More arrests and tortures at Mae'kelawi

A man identified by this blogger's police sources as Dr. Lakew Alemu was arrested and taken to Mae'kelawi two days ago. He was returning home from work. According to the sources, the man was arrested in connection to his activism for Kinijit. Preliminary accounts indicate that he works at the Economic Commission for Africa.

Meanwhile, further names of Kinijit prisoners who have been jailed and tortured at Maekelawi has been obtained by this blogger.

The following is the list with their addresses and employment
Temesgen Shemere.......(Awasa, CUD election candidate, Tortured)
Wolde Dana... (Wolayita Sodo... CUD election candidate, Tortured)
Ashebir Gebre....(Awasa, Policeman, Tortured)
Lij Alem Takele... (Dila, Tortured))
Addis Aman... (Sodo Zuriya, private employee, Tortured)
Tilahun Ayalew....(West Gojam, Teacher, Tortured))
Abebe Shumye... (Gonder, works at Dashen Beer, Tortured)
Zekiyos Ashebo. ... (Awasa, Works at Justice Bureau, Tortured)
Shimeles Capitone.... (Addis Ababa, works at Lufthansa, Tortured)
Tsegaye Ayele... (Gonder, X-ray technician, Torture status not known)
Anteneh Getnet Mulatu... (Addis Ababa, Teacher, Tortured)
Binyam Melaku... (Awassa, Student, Tortured)
Belay Kefyalew....(Gonder, Trader, Tortured)

More information to come.... All have been held at the Maekelawi since Mid-December 2006.

Monday, February 05, 2007

AI's report put the government on defensive

The Meles government is having hard time with Amnesty International, the human rights organizations which may consider as the conscience of the world.

AI's report on torture at Maekelawi(which was first reported on this blog) has left the EPRDF machine confused and utterly discombobulated. The federal police flip-flopped twice in four hours over the issue. On the Saturday morning, they told local journalists that they had none of the Prisoners mentioned on the AI report in custody. Four hours letter Federal Police spokesman Cmr. Demesash Hailu admitted to the Associated Press that the persons had been jailed by them.

Bereket Simon, the neurotic Media adviser to the prime Minister was, however, oblivious to the police admission, calling Amnesty's report fictitious.

Meanwhile one of TPLF's staunch supporters, Aigaforum, had kept silent on the issue. It tried to cover up the first reports of the tortures on this blog by alluding the fact that some websites which quoted this blogger's news were using silly fake photos to support the report. The truth, however, had come out streaming and left Aiga speechless. The dirt cleaning was left to one Gemeda Humnasa, a known apologist of the Meles dictatorship. He came up with the tried and failed "Amnesty International is biased" banter to discredit the report on American Chronicle.

....and finally, the federal police has released four of the prisoners who had been in detention in relation to their support to the CUD. Although none of the four were mentioned on the AI report, police sources said that they were released on Sunday after the Amnesty controversy.

We have to thank Amnesty for being the voice of the tortured and the illegally detained.

Three journalists abandon TPLF's mouthpiece

Young journalists have been flocking out of Reporter, TPLF's prominent mouthpiece.

The latest group of reporters and editors who have left the declining media owned by former TPLF fighters, Amare Aregawi, include journalist Berhane Alemu. Berhane worked at Reporter for more than ten years, ascending to senior editorial position. Two senior reporters, Tsion Girma and Firew Abebe also left the organization last week.

According to sources, the owner and editor-in-chief of the paper has stifled freedom of speech at Reporter after hiss paper weighed in the May 2005 election supporting EPRDF. Journalists have been banned from reporting human rights abuses by the Meles government.

Amare allegedly leads a new network of EPRDF sympathizers who pose as independent journalists and scholars to foreign diplomats and journalists. "It is a creative propaganda machine. People like Amare and Costentinos Berhe approach diplomats and journalists and criticize the government. Then they argue that the opposition, including jailed Kinijit leaders, is worse. This is a strategy, which leaves foreigners thinking that despite all its problems, EPRDF is the best Ethiopians can get, without putting the independence of the messengers in doubt, "a TPLF insider told this blogger.

And this systematic approach to propaganda is working. Important visitors like Donald Levin had been deceived by the machine. Amare has also become the Ethiopian representative for some prominent international organizations including Transparency International.

Comedian Daniel Fisseha was released from jail on Saturday after this blog reported his arrest. Police sources said that the decision to release was taken when the US embassy enquired about the arrest. Daniel is a US citizen.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Breaking news: Tortured prisoners transferred to another jail

The federal police has moved tortured CUD supporters from Maekelawi to the Addis Ababa police prison after Amnesty International issued a statement about the torture. The new prison is found next to the Maekelawi jail.
After transferring the prisoners to another jail, the federal police told journalists in Addis Ababa that it hadn't detained them.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More on torture at Mae'kelawi

Further details about the Mae'kelawi torture are uncovered by this blogger. Police sources confirmed that the US resident who has been detained and tortured at Mae'kelawi is Daniel Hailemariam. He is accused of liasoning young Kinijit supporters in Ethiopia with diaspora backers. He has denied any knowledge of the diaspora kinijit leaders.
Both Endalkachew Melese and Zenebe Tadesse reside in Saris Kadisco area. Another man who has been suffering from torture at the same prison is Sisaye Bogale, employee of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.
Torture alert:
The following persons have been arrested and tortured at Mae'kelawi:

Endalkachew Melese
Zenebe Tadesse
Hirut Kifle
Fantaye Beyene
Daniel Hailemariam
Saba Mekonen
Menbere Tsegaye
Tigist Tilahun

This must stop right now. Please ask international human rights organizations to pressurise the EPRDF government to stop torturing political dissidents.