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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Amnesty Issues new Urgent action appeal for over 60 CUD supporters

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
['Progress' in Ethiopia kidnapping] - [International community continues to honor prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia ] - [State Department Report on Human Rights Practices in Ethiopia] - [Britain suspects Afar rebels behind Ethiopia kidnap] - [Violence welcomes first Ugandan peacekeepers to Somalia] - [Somaliland jailed journalists sentenced to prison]

[AU peacekeepers killed in Sudan] - [Jurors rejected Libby’s defense ] - [2 American Women Poisoned in Moscow] - [Robotic age poses ethical dilemma ] and more of today's top stories!

Candlelight vigil for prisoners of Conscience in Ethiopia, in front of the White House held last Sunday March 4. As international concerns regarding the human rights situation in Ethiopia escalate, Rights groups all over the world are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of opposition leaders, human rights defenders and journalists who are on trial In Ethiopia. (March4, 2007)


Press Release from International Ethiopian Women Organization regarding the March 3 and March 4 Congress


The Coalition for H.R. 5680: If you live in California, please contact your state assembly member or senator and ask for their support in co-sponsoring and/or voting for AJR 12.

For Sample Letters and the California Assembly Member Roster [Click here....] (word doc.)

Also see:
- California Joint resolution to Urge Bush, Congress to support human rights in Ethiopia

Amnesty Issues new Urgent action appeal for over 60 CUD supporters

Amnesty International

"A mother, Wubitu Mosha, detained with her four year old son, is among the detainees"

It is now known that over 60 officials or alleged supporters of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) party, arrested in different parts of the country, have been detained incommunicado since mid-December 2006 or early 2007.

Several have been released but there have also been further arrests. There have been further reports that some of the detainees have been tortured in detention.

All the detainees have been taken to court in the capital, Addis Ababa and remanded in custody while police conduct investigations, but none of them has yet been formally charged with a specific offence.

Most are still held at the police Central Investigation Bureau (known as Maikelawi) in Addis Ababa but several were transferred to Kera police station in the Kirkos suburb of Addis Ababa. Five of those transferred were identified as Alemayehu Seifu, Tilahun Ayele, Yonas Getachew, Tadesse Zenebe and Gedlu Ayele.

A mother, Wubitu Mosha, detained with her four year old son, is among the detainees. All the detainees have been denied access to relatives and lawyers, and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment. New reports claim that several detainees have been beaten by police.(More...)

International community continues to honor prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia

Since their imprisonment in 2005, the international community has been bestowing a variety of awards and prizes on the prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia - recognizing their effort and sacrifice in bringing democracy to their native country. The most recent recipient of such an award is Dr. Yacob Hailemariam.

The Virginia Social Science Association (VSSA) has given Dr. Yacob the Distinguished Career award, in absentia.

The following is a statement by VSSA:

"The 2007 recipient of the VSSA’s Distinguished Career award is Jacob Hailemariam (Yakob Haile-Mariam), who is being so recognized precisely because of his unavailability to attend.

For twenty years a professor at Norfolk State University, he took time out most notably to investigate genocide in Rwanda for the United Nations, and he took early retirement to return to his native Ethiopia to run in 2005 as a reform candidate in putatively free elections for the national Parliament.

Victorious at the polls, he subsequently found himself imprisoned by the regime on charges of treason and genocide. Representing him at the conference, we anticipate, will be one or more friends, family, and professional colleagues." [See VSSA's letter to Dr. Yacob]

'Progress' in Ethiopia kidnapping

The Foreign Office said progress was being made in the search for five Britons kidnapped in northern Ethiopia.

(Picture - Vehicles used by the Britons were found on Monday in the town of Hamedali, near the Eritrean border)

A British diplomat in the capital Addis Ababa said they may have been abducted because of tensions in the disputed Eritrean border area.

The embassy staff and their relatives were sightseeing in the Afar region near Eritrea when they went missing.

The official did not give further details for fear of prejudicing the search, now in is seventh day.(More...)

Also see:
-BBC archive: 'I was kidnapped in Afar region'

Britain suspects Afar rebels behind Ethiopia kidnap

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - Britain's Foreign Office on Wednesday said the abuduction of a five-member embassy group in Ethiopia last week was likely linked to local rebel groups in the remote northeast Afar region.

"We can't be categorical, but indications are that it is likely to be an Afar regional problem," a Foreign Office spokeswoman told AFP, under the condition of anonymity."We are narrowing down the options. I cannot go into details," she added.(More...)

[ETP - The following article was brought to our attention by a CPJ staff member]
Committee to Protect Journalists: In Somaliland, jailed journalists sentenced to prison

New York, March 5, 2007—Four journalists of a leading independent daily in the northern breakaway republic of Somaliland were sentenced to prison on Sunday, and their paper’s publication license indefinitely revoked over stories critical of President Dahir Rayale Kahin, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and news reports.

Haatuf publisher Yusuf Abdi Gabobe was sentenced to two years in prison, while editor Ali Abdi Dini, investigative reporter Muhammad-Rashid Farah and correspondent Muhammad Omar Sheekh were sentenced to two years and five months by a regional court in Mandhera, north of the capital Hargeysa, according to NUSOJ and local journalists.

The court also issued an injunction ordering the indefinite closure of the paper and fined Haatuf Media Network 5 million Somaliland shillings (US$800), according to Reuters. The paper continued to operate normally today, and planned to file an appeal, associate editor Rashid Mostafa told CPJ.(More...)

Violence welcomes first Ugandan peacekeepers to Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The first peacekeepers to arrive in Somalia’s capital in more than 10 years were met with a surge of violence yesterday, as mortar rounds hit the airport during a welcoming ceremony and a deadly gunbattle broke out on the city’s streets.

The street battles involving masked gunmen killed three people and mortar rounds wounded one, all of them civilians, witnesses and police said.

The violence is the latest example of the volatility peacekeepers face in a country that has seen little more than anarchy for years, and where the government backed by Ethiopian troops toppled an Islamic militia only months ago.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Report on Human Rights Practices in Ethiopia (This report is submitted to Congress by the Department of State)
-AU peacekeepers killed in Sudan
-2 American Women Poisoned in Moscow(U.S. Embassy Confirms 2 Americans Suspected of Being Poisoned, Hospitalized in Moscow)
-U.S. wants North Korea to go beyond agreement to shut reactor
-Jurors rejected Libby’s defense (Ex-Cheney aide faces prison for lying)
-Northern Ireland Assembly Vote May Clear Way for Power-Sharing
-Earthquakes Shake Sumatra, Killing at Least 70
-Robotic age poses ethical dilemma (An ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa, is being drawn up by South Korea)
-Meat-loving calf eats chickens