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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ethiopia: Secret prison transfers come to light

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Freed Tourists to See Loved Ones Again ] - [IFEX: Four reporters assaulted by Ethiopian soldiers] - [Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam: Crime as a Medal] - [IFEX: Eritrean Diaspora urged to aid imprisoned Journalists ]

[Unbowed Tsvangirai urges defiance] - [Gonzales: 'I did make some mistakes'] - [Probe reveals seas on Saturn moon] - [North Korea committed to disarmament pact: IAEA ] and more of today's top stories!

Weapons of war aid Ethiopia coffee trade: Azemeraw Zeleke, a 54-year-old inventor and repairman supplies Mekele, and the whole of Tigray region, with coffee machines. But it is his choice of materials that makes Azemeraw's trade truly unique. "The farmers bring me mortar shells from the old battlefield," he says, "The empty tubes are perfect for the coffee machines" (More...)


Financing a friendly dictator: Ishac Diwan, World Bank country director for Sudan and Ethiopia, disclosed that his team is preparing for a Country Assistance Strategy which was first interrupted following the electoral violence of May 2005. This will bring back direct budget support to the government of Ethiopia, amounting to 50 million dollars (More...)

Crime as a Medal

by Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam, From Qality Prison (translation)

Let me first recount what I had witnessed in a courtroom a long time ago. A person had sued another for a thousand birr. The defendant denied the claim saying he owed nothing. The evidence that the plaintiff and his attorney presented was a letter that the plaintiff himself had written to a friend.

The defendant, in amazement, quipped that the plaintiff decided to sue him for one thousand dollars only out of his kindness, considering that, with such evidence, nothing could have stopped him from suing for a million instead.

I was expecting the judge to fine the plaintiff and dismiss the case when in fact; the judge adjourned the trial allowing the plaintiff to present some other evidence.

In this case, the legal process was violated primarily by the plaintiff and his lawyer. Subsequently, rather than rectifying the error, the court committed a further violation of due process through an unnecessary adjournment.

With this in mind, let us consider the case against the leaders and members of the coalition for unity and Democracy, the journalists and leaders of civic society and examine the charges and the judicial process.(More in English...)

-Professor Mesfin Wolde mariam's letter in AMHARIC

Secret prison transfers come to light

A network of U.S. allies in East Africa secretly have transferred to prisons in Ethiopia and somalia as many as 150 people who were captured in Kenya while fleeing the recent war in Somalia, according to human rights advocates.

Kenyan authorities made the arrests as part of a U.S.-backed, four-nation military campaign in December and January against Somalia's Islamist militias, which Bush administration officials have linked to al Qaida.

The prisoners, who included men and women of 17 nationalities and children as young as 7 months, were held in Kenya for several weeks before they were sent covertly to Somalia and Ethiopia, where they're being held incommunicado, the groups charge.

The transfers, which authorities reportedly carried out in the middle of the night and made public only after a recent court order in Kenya, violated international law, according to the rights groups.

At least one of the transferees is an American citizen identified on a flight manifest as Amir Mohamed Meshar. Meshar was flown from Nairobi to Baidoa, the seat of Somalia's transitional government, on Feb. 10, according to Islamic human-rights groups. His whereabouts, and those of 12 other detainees aboard that chartered flight, are unknown.(More...)

Also see:
-Rights activists claim prisoners moved illegally
-U.S. accused of allowing transfer of prisoners

Freed Tourists to See Loved Ones Again

Five Europeans just freed from captivity in Ethiopia are in good health and anticipating reunions with their families, the British ambassador to Ethiopia said Wednesday.

The five were expected to issue a statement later in the day, said the ambassador, Bob Dewar. "Our five are now looking forward to being reunited soon with their families," Dewar said.

Fears were growing, however, for the eight Ethiopians who were kidnapped with the group and who are still missing. The Ethiopian government called for their immediate release.(More...)

Ethiopia: City Millennium Council Proposes 150-Mln Two-Year Program

The Addis Ababa City Administration Millennium council announced on Tuesday that it has designed a two years project worth over 150 million in connection with the upcoming millennium celebrations.

Launching the proposal which outlines plan of action it aspires to accomplish in the next two years, the Millennium City Council said over 71 million birr is to be allocated for the millennium celebrations and over 10 million birr for the council's operational expenses. The lingering amount, which is close to 69 million birr, has been allocated for other construction projects.(More...)

Four reporters assaulted by Ethiopian soldiers; another detained by pro-government forces

IFEX Alert

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the African Union (AU) to protect journalists in Somalia after the recent beating of four reporters by soldiers.

Ibraahim Ruush, Ismaciil Cali Cabdi and Max'ed Ibraahim Raage, three reporters working for private media group Shabelle Media Network (SMN), were beaten and briefly detained earlier today by Ethiopian troops based in the southern part of Mogadishu. The team was reporting on an attack on the base last night. The Ethiopian troops forced the three journalists to lie on the ground, seized their recording materials and beat them. They were released after an hour.

On Sunday Abdirahman Aladalla, another SMN journalist, was beaten and detained by Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers in Darmoley, 15 km south of Mogadishu.(More...)

Also see:-CPJ: reporter held incommunicado since Friday

Eritrea: Diaspora urged to aid imprisoned Journalists


On the 2,000th day since Eritrea's "Black Tuesday" crackdown on media in 2001, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) urged Eritreans abroad to demand explanations for the imprisonment of at least 14 journalists, four of whom are feared dead.

(Picture - Fessehaye Yohannes, editor of the defunct popular weekly "Setit" who died in a secret military prison)

"The Eritrean diaspora, which played a key role in supporting the independence war, must today make its voice heard and insist that President Isaias [Afwerki] respect the country's constitution and laws," RSF commented on 10 March 2007.

On 18 September 2001, President Isaias closed all privately owned newspapers in the capital, Asmara, and arrested leading politicians and independence war veterans who had signed a petition calling for democracy. Soon after, police arrested at least ten journalists, some of them also veterans in the independence struggle.(More...)

World Population To Reach 9.2 Billion, Ethiopia one of the major contributors: UN Report

UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Bernama) -- World population is set to surpass 9 billion mark by 2050 with less developed countries witnessing most of the increase, a UN report has said.

Population growth will remain concentrated in populous countries with half the projected increase from 2005 to 2050 in eight countries (listed according to the size of their expected growth) -- India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia, the United States, Bangladesh and China, PTI said in its report.

An important change in the new population estimate is a decrease in expected deaths from HIV/AIDS because of the increasing use of anti-retroviral drugs and the downward revision of the prevalence of the disease in some countries.(More...)

Ethiopian-American Artists Make Their Mark

A generation of Ethiopian Americans is making its mark on the arts.

They are part of a wave of young people whose families fled Ethiopia in the 1970s and who came of age in the United States. Their writing, music and art are adding a new chapter to the epic of American immigration.

Author Dinaw Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Read an Excerpt), came out this month to warm reviews.

At an Ethiopian restaurant near downtown Washington, D.C., Mengestu, 29, is thinking back on the journey that brought him here. Born in Addis Ababa, he left Ethiopia at the age of 2, then spent the next seven years in Peoria, Ill.

Now Mengestu teaches at Georgetown University and lives in New York City.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Unbowed Tsvangirai urges defiance
(Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the beating he received at the hands of police should be an "inspiration" for the struggle)

-Gonzales: 'I did make some mistakes'
-British lawmakers weigh missile proposal
-Hamas, Fatah to present unity government to parliament on Saturday
-North Korea committed to disarmament pact: IAEA
-Probe reveals seas on Saturn moon (Nasa's Cassini probe has found evidence for seas, probably filled with liquid hydrocarbons, at the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan)
-Vodka and isolation: welcome to rural Russia