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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Breaking news: kangaroo court rules against peace activist and human rights defender Professor Mesfin W/Mariam

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Former Defense Minister’s Case Adjourned Again] - [Somali fundamentalists regrouping- reports] - [Brief fighting at Mogadishu flashpoint] - [5,000 Ethiopians and Somalis moved to Yemen this year illegally ]

[Obama's Campaign Takes In $25 Million] - [Pelosi Arrives in Saudi Arabia] - [Britain Envoy meets Hamas over BBC journalist] - [Soccer Violence - Italian Police vs British Fans] and more of today's top stories!


INTERVIEW - FBI & CIA Interrogating Detainees in Secret Ethiopian Jails

The Associated Press reports the CIA and FBI agents have been interrogating hundreds of detainees at secret prisons in Ethiopia.

(Interviewer Amy Goodman)


Anthony Mitchell, reporter for the Associated Press, from Nairobi, Kenya.
John Sifton, researcher at Human Rights Watch..
Jonathan Hafetz, lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. He is assisting the family of Amir Mohamed Meshal, the US citizen detained in Ethiopia.

Speech by Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam
(Sakharov Prize nominee, Robert Kennedy Memorial Human Rights Award nominee, winner of the New York Academy of Sciences - Heinz R. Pagels Award, and Prisoner of conscience)
November - 2003


Breaking News: Prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia a step closer to the death penalty

EHRCO special report: Torture of Detainees should Stop in Ethiopia

Breaking news: kangaroo court rules against peace activist and human rights defender Professor Mesfin W/Mariam

AV -- "If I were a betting man, I'd say Zenawi will drag out the kangaroo court case for as long as he can because it is a great diversionary trick for him. But he has played that old game so long, nobody really cares what he does or does not do. He is irrelevant to the cause of justice in Ethiopia,"
-Professor Alemayehu G.Mariam

April 5, 2007 - The Federal High Court Second Criminal Bench continued its injudicious ruling against political dissidents.

The court ruled that the father of Ethiopian human rights movement, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, and many other dissidents should continue "defending" prosecutor's charges of outrage against the "constitutional" order, treason and genocide.

According to the ruling, the ailing 77-year old Professor implied that the government must be changed by force.

The professor was quoted as saying that the tyrannical regime, which seized political power by force, should be told enough is enough as democracy could only be realized through experience and the rule of law. Professor Mesfin is currently facing a separate but similar charges.

Ato Kassahun Kebede, General Secretary of the Ethiopian Teachers Association has reportedly been acquitted. Journalist Eskender Nega has also been told that charges against him for outrage against the constitutional order have been dropped.(More...)

Also see:
-EZ: Andragachew Tsgie and Elias Kifle are guilty, court rules

Former Defense Minister’s Case Adjourned Again

ETP -- The Ethiopian Federal Supreme Court has once again adjourned the trial of former defense minister Siye Abraha. The court reset the trial date for June this year.

Siye’s case which has taken well over five years, illustrates the lack of a fair judiciary in Ethiopia and is seen as a precursor to what is to come in the ongoing CUD trial.

The former defense minister was arrested in 2001, along with his brother, for allegedly favoring his family in shady business deals.

The court ordered his release on bail, but in a very odd move, he was arrested outside the court house; some say by direct order of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

At the time of Siye’s arrest, he and the Prime Minister were in a bitter dispute regarding the border war with neighboring Eritrea. Siye’s arrest, which came amidst this controversy, is seen by many as a retaliatory attack by the Prime Minister, who viewed Siye as a serious threat to his power.

Reason for the adjournment was the absence of the presiding judges for the eleventh time. Judges not showing up when they are due to give a decision, is a common occurrence in Ethiopia’s courtrooms.

The government of Meles Zenawi is known for its lengthy trials. Analysts say the prime minister uses delaying tactics as ploy to weaken decent and consolidate his grip on power.

Somali fundamentalists regrouping- reports

Somali`s Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) forces are fast re-grouping and planning an offensive on the capital Mogadishu in its first major attempt to wrestle power from President Abdullahi Yusuf`s transitional federal government, the East African Standard daily reported here Wednesday.

The paper, quoting unnamed security sources, said there was information that some 1,000 UIC were re-grouping at Raskamboni in the south, near the Kenyan border, in readiness for an onslaught on Mogadishu.

The Somali capital has been a theatre of vicious violence since the Ethiopian-backed Somali government forces captured Mogadishu from UIC in January this year. Even last month`s deployment of 1,700 African Union troops has not helped quell the mayhem that has claimed over 400 lives so far.(More...)

Brief fighting at Mogadishu flashpoint

MOGADISHU (AFP) - Heavy exchanges of weapon fire and shelling broke out briefly overnight in a Mogadishu district where Ethiopian troops are facing off with Islamist insurgents and clan fighters, residents said Thursday.

Other areas of the capital remained calm for a fourth day, one week after the start of the heaviest fighting in the battered city in 15 years.

An AFP correspondent heard heavy exchanges of gunfire and mortar shelling near the city's main soccer stadium at around midnight Wednesday, which lasted for around 15 minutes. It was unclear if there were any casualties.(More...)

5,000 Ethiopians and Somalis moved to Yemen this year illegally

395 Africans died trying to reach Yemen, many drowning or being slain by pirates and smugglers in the treacherous waters between Yemen and Somalia, trying to flee the violence and hardship there.

About 5,000 illegal Ethiopian and Somali migrants have arrived in Yemen since early this year, while 395 Africans perished on the way in the same period, a security official said Thursday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, said Yemen recorded 4,950 Africans as having entered the country illegally since January.(More...)

With millions in hand, Ethiopian winner goes back to work

Freshly minted millionaire Ibrahim Aboubaker of Norcross showed remarkable restraint. For hours Aboubaker kept his $5 million winnings a secret because he didn't want to wake up his wife and three children on a school night.

Aboubaker, 44, a supervisor for a parking management company, will keep his job, but he plans to use part of the money to visit his parents in Ethiopia, the country he moved to America from 26 years ago.

He plans to use the approximately $170,000 he'll take home a year for 20 years to start a real estate business or open a service station.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Eritrea bans female circumcision
-Report: S. Africa's arms agency illegally sold ammunition
-Obama's Campaign Takes In $25 Million(Sen. Obama raised at least $25 million for his campaign so far,making it all but certain that Democrats will face a costly and protracted battle for their party's nomination)
-Pelosi Arrives in Saudi Arabia
-Envoy meets Hamas over BBC journalist(Britain held its first talks with Hamas, sending an envoy to discuss efforts to free a BBC journalist abducted in Gaza)
-Ukraine's leader threatens to prosecute rivals
-Soccer Violence - Italian Police vs British Fans (Italian Police Clashed Violently with Manchester United Football Fans at a Game in Rome)