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Monday, April 09, 2007

Genocide charges dropped, 8 Journalists freed; Opposition Leaders, rights activists still in jail

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Ethiopia: opposition party (CUD) still on trial] - [Somali deputy PM demands withdrawal of Ethiopian forces] - [Report: U.S. helped Ethiopia by ignoring apparent sanctions violation by North Korea] - [Pope: Somalia worsening African crisis]

[Zimbabwe bishops warn of revolt] - [Bush seeks momentum for immigration overhaul] - [French presidential campaign officially begins] - [Sopranos finale begins on downbeat note ] and more of today's top stories!



Human Rights and Humans Without Rights in Ethiopia
Professor Alemayehu G.Mariam
Speech at the University of Minnesota Law School Human Rights Conference
April 6, 2007

International Ethiopian Women Organization's Radio interview
W/t Lulit Mesfin and Ato Alemayehu Zemedkhun regarding last week's Kangaroo Court's ruling

Message to the Prisoners of Conscience: Ethiopia
Kinijit North America Association of Support Organizations (KNAASO)

Somali Diaspora Conference
Leicester, England, April 6-8

Ethiopia genocide charges dropped

BBC -- Ethiopian prosecutors have dropped controversial charges of attempted genocide and treason against 111 people arrested after election protests.Twenty-five accused, mostly journalists and publishers, have also been acquitted of all charges.

However several key opposition leaders remain in custody, accused of trying to violently overthrow the government. Amnesty International says the charges of genocide were "absurd" and that the accused are "prisoners of conscience".

The accused have always said the trial was political and all but two have refused to co-operate.(More...)

Ethiopian High Court acquits eight journalists on antistate crimes

New York, April 9, 2007-Ethiopia's High Court today acquitted and set free eight editors and publishers of Amharic-language newspapers who have been jailed on antistate charges since a massive November 2005 government crackdown, according to local journalists and media reports.

“We welcome the verdict of the High Court and the long overdue release of these journalists,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We urge the High Court to dismiss all remaining charges against the other journalists still detained.”(More..)

Ethiopia: opposition party (CUD) still on trial

The majority of the CUD (Kinijit) party leadership in Ethiopia is still on a slow moving trial for treason & genocide and has spent more than a year in prison.

After many adjourned proceedings and postponements, the court has finally ordered the CUD leaders & various journalists to defend their case against the treason charge after presenting vague evidence against them this week.

After Ethiopia’s first multi-party elections in 2005; which were originally praised, turned very bad due to vote riggings and subsequent violence, most of the international community woke up to the undemocratic nature of the current Ethiopian ruling party.

Yet the ruling party continued its suppression by locking up civil society members and journalists in addition to the CUD members.(More...)

Somali deputy PM demands withdrawal of Ethiopian forces

AFP - Somali Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aidid has demanded the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from the country to allow the people to decide their future.

"Ethiopian troops must leave from Somali territory to let the Somalis decide their own fate," Aideed said in a brief interview broadcast on Eritrean state-run EriTV late Sunday.

Aidid expressed fears that Somalia, which recently suffered its worst violence in the past 15 years, was becoming another Iraq, split between warring factions and foreign forces.

Four days of heavy fighting that erupted late last month between Ethiopian forces and a combination of local militia and remnants of a defeated Islamist movement killed hundreds and forced thousands to flee the capital Mogadishu.(More...)

Report: U.S. helped Ethiopia by ignoring apparent sanctions violation by North Korea

The United States ignored an apparent violation of the international sanctions against North Korea by turning a blind eye to an arms shipment that Pyongyang sent to Ethiopia earlier this year, according to a story in Sunday's edition of The New York Times.

North Korea has been subject to strict sanctions since it tested a nuclear device last October. An anonymous Pentagon official tells the paper the January shipment was "an unambiguous Security Council violation."

"The United States allowed the arms delivery to go through in January in part because Ethiopia was in the midst of a military offensive against Islamic militias inside Somalia, a campaign that aided the American policy of combating religious extremists in the Horn of Africa," the Times reports.(More...)

Pope: Somalia worsening African crisis

Vatican City - Pope Benedict said on Sunday recent violence in Somalia, where the capital Mogadishu has seen some of its heaviest fighting in 15 years, had dashed hopes for peace and worsened the outlook for the region.

"The renewed fighting has driven away the prospect of peace and worsened a regional crisis, especially with regard to the displacement of populations and the traffic of arms," the Pontiff said in his Easter "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message.(More...)

-[Full text of Pope Benedict's Easter speech]

US blames Eritrea over Somalian insurgency
The Guardian

Eritrea is fuelling the insurgency in Somalia in order to wage a proxy war against its arch-foe Ethiopia, according to the top US official for Africa.

Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said that Eritrea was the largest foreign backer of guerrillas who are fiercely resisting attempts by Ethiopia and the Somali government to pacify Mogadishu.

"No insurgency group can survive without support from neighbouring countries," said Ms Frazer in Nairobi on Saturday night, just hours after becoming the highest ranking US official to visit Somalia for 14 years.(More...)

Joy amid struggle: Avon scholar survives violence in Ethiopia

Is this Dr. Getatchew?, the caller asks.
Yes, Getatchew answers into the telephone.
Can I come over and talk to you?, the voice asks.
Why and about what?, Getatchew asks, skeptical.

It's Oct. 4, 1975. Getatchew is at home in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa. He knows the dictatorship government sees him, an outspoken critic, as a threat. While his infant daughter sleeps in her crib and the rest of his family is at a party, Getatchew loads a .45-caliber revolver. It's dinner time — 5 p.m.

Two men, one in a military uniform, see Getatchew waiting at his home's gate with his revolver. They scurry away to call for assistance. A group of 50 to 100 soldiers surround the home. Getatchew hears the whistle of bullets pass his ears and fires back.

Later he finds out the military shot 4,000 bullets into his house and considered demolishing it during the attack. Getatchew runs out of ammunition. He tries to climb over the garden wall to escape.He feels a bullet hit his back.He falls.

A man with steel-toe boots kicks him in the head. Where are the rest of them?, he demands. It's just me, Getatchew utters, his mouth full of blood.

The man doesn't believe him. He keeps kicking.

The military doesn't know if they should leave Getatchew to die or take him to jail. The men shove him onto a truck bed and take him to the hospital.That is the last time Getatchew sees his home in Ethiopia.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Zimbabwe bishops warn of revolt(in a letter pinned up in churches across the country bishops have warned of a mass uprising unless free elections are held)
-Bush seeks momentum for immigration overhaul
-French presidential campaign officially begins
-Iran Says It's Able to Make Nuclear Fuel
-East Timor Votes for New President(A Monday presidential election pitting a Nobel Peace laureate against seven challengers)
-Britons divided over sailors selling stories of their captivity
-Sopranos finale begins on downbeat note