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Monday, April 16, 2007

Amnesty Issues urgent appeal for over 80 detainees in Ethiopia

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Somalia: Tensions high after deputy PM switches sides, accuses Ethiopian troops of 'genocide']
[san francisco Chronicle: Reports of torture in Ethiopia are widespread ] - [Islamic leader says Al-Qaeda does not exist in Somalia ] - [Somalia peace conference delayed again; mortars, gunfire rock Mogadishu] - [Ethiopia denies shipment from North Korea violated ban ] - [Swedish agents saw suspects in Ethiopia]

[U.S: 32 killed in Virginia Tech shooting]
[Obama leads field in fundraising] - [Relatives Express New Fears for BBC Gaza Kidnap Victim] - [Sadr ministers quit Iraqi cabinet ] - [EU President Germany Denounces Russian Crackdown] and more of today's top stories!

Refuge seekers sleep on the beach along the coast of the southern Yemeni town of Ahrwar, about 630 km (390 miles) from the capital Sanaa, April 15, 2007. Hundreds of Ethiopian and Somali refugees perish every year attempting the hazardous voyage across the Gulf of Aden. (Picture - REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah) (MORE....)

Our Quest for the Resolution to the Ethiopian Human Rights Crisis:Time for A Critical Appraisal
by Meqdes Mesfin
(daughter of renowned human rights activist and prisoner of conscience Professor Mesfin Wolde-Mariam)

(EFJA) Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association

Part II IEWO Radio Interview
Lulit Mesfin and Alemayehu Zemedkhun

Ethiopian American Civic Advocacy (EACA) website
EACA demands that all political prisoners in Ethiopia be released urgent petition

Amnesty issues urgent appeal for over 80 detainees in Ethiopia

Bashir Ahmed Makhtal (m), Canadian national
Halima Badrudine Hussein (f), Comorian national
Ayub Abdurazak (m), French resident
Tesfaldet Kidane Tesfasgi (m), Eritrean national, television cameraman
Saleh Idris Salim (m), Eritrean national, television journalist
Osman Ahmed Yassin (m), Swedish national
Sophia Abdi Nasir (f), Swedish national
Ines Chine (f), Tunisian national
Abdi Muhammed Abdillahi (m), Kenyan national
And up to 75 other men, women and children of various nationalities

The people named above are among over 80 detainees held incommunicado in at least three different locations in Ethiopia. They are at risk of torture or ill-treatment, and may not be receiving access to the medical treatment they need.

These people were arrested between 30 December 2006 and February 2007 as they tried to cross the border from Somalia into Kenya. They were detained in various locations in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, before being transferred to Somalia on three charter flights between 20 January and 10 February. Once in Somalia they were transferred to Ethiopia.(more...)

san francisco Chronicle: Reports of torture in Ethiopia are widespread

First, the police threw Tesfaye into a dark cell. Then, each day for 17 days, it was the same routine: Electric shocks on his legs and back, followed by beatings with rubber truncheons. Four or five officers would then surround and kick him. At last, a large bottle of water would be tied around his testicles. He'd pass out.

Tesfaye's crime? Maybe it's that he refused to join the ruling party of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He was accused of organizing street protests in late 2005. Police suspect he's a member of a rebel group called the Oromo Liberation Front. Tesfaye doesn't know for sure because no court ever charged him with a crime.(More...)

Also see:
-Ethiopia's offenses noted by State Dept.

Somalia: Tensions high after deputy PM switches sides, accuses Ethiopian troops of 'genocide'

The deputy prime minister of Somalia's transitional government, Hussein Mohamed Farah Aideed, has accused Ethiopian troops of committing "genocide" against the Somali people in the capital, Mogadishu, taking already high tensions to a new level.

Such an accusation coming from a high-ranking Somali official, such as Aideed - the son of another, late and powerful politician - goes beyond the typical opposition propaganda and could create pressure for a formal international investigation into the recent death and destruction in Mogadishu.

Ethiopia has understandably dismissed Aideed's allegation as an absolute fabrication. In a recent statement, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tekede Alemu said such accusations were "expected from someone with no interest in peace and stability in Somalia."

Ethiopian officials are still considering an interview request by ISN Security Watch in response our recent coverage of the conflict in Somalia.(More...)

Also see:
-BBC: Ethiopia in Somali 'genocide' row

Late-Update: Courtroom Chaos Brings Both Triumph and Despair

Lewit -- Following the ruling to release the 25, chaos broke out in the courtroom. As the judges were preparing to leave, Bertukan asked Judge Adil if the remaining defendants would be permitted to meet in order to discuss their defense.

At first he said that it was a matter for the Addis Ababa Prison Commission to decide, but then concluded that he couldn’t allow them to gather, as they were facing conspiracy charges.

Dr.Berhanu stood up and angrily demanded that if they were to be denied opportunity to discuss their collective defence, sentences should be delivered immediately. The judge shouted back, and others lept to their feet with similar requests.

Bertukan repeatedly tried to make herself heard to no avail, and finally got up and walked out of the courtroom, to the stupified confusion of the guards. After failing to restore order, Adil was livid and attempted to walk out, but was prevented by the other two judges

The trial is scheduled to resume on April 30th.(Source)

Swedish agents saw suspects in Ethiopia

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Sweden's intelligence service said Friday it had sent agents to visit three Swedes who were among dozens of foreigners held in Ethiopia as terror suspects.

Agents from SAPO, Sweden's security police, met the three at the end of March but did not interrogate them, SAPO spokesman Anders Thornberg said.

"We were down there strictly on a consular mission," he said. "The Foreign Ministry tried to get in contact with the Swedes, but had problems in getting access and so they asked us to help because we had some contacts."(More...)

Ethiopia denies shipment from North Korea violated ban

WASHINGTON: The Ethiopian government has denied that it violated United Nations sanctions by carrying out a secret purchase earlier this year of military equipment from North Korea.

The CIA reported in late January that an Ethiopian-flagged ship had left a North Korean port and that its cargo probably included tank parts and other military cargo, according to U.S. officials.

The purchase of tank parts would violate restrictions on dealings with North Korea imposed by the UN Security Council in a resolution adopted in October. The Security Council acted less than a week after North Korea tested a nuclear device.(More...)

Somalia peace conference delayed again; mortars, gunfire rock Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Somalia: Gunfire and mortar shells rocked Somalia's capital as plans for a peace and reconciliation conference were delayed for a second time

Mogadishu has seen sporadic violence in recent days, ending a more than a week's lull in fighting between insurgents and Ethiopian-backed government troops. Four days of bloodshed that started in late March killed hundreds of people — and possibly more than 1,000 — in the worst fighting in 15 years.

On Sunday, the chairman of a committee planning a peace and reconciliation conference said the meeting would be held June 14. The conference was supposed to be held this month, but had been postponed to May because of the violence.(More...)

Islamic leader says Al-Qaeda does not exist in Somalia

The leader of a radical Islamic movement that ruled much of southern Somalia before being driven out in December said "there is no Al-Qaeda in Somalia," disputing allegations that the group has links to the terrorist organisation.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, chairman of the Council of Islamic Courts, has rarely spoken in public since his forces were ousted during a swift operation led by troops from neighbouring Ethiopia.

The United States and other Western powers have long accused the group of having links to terrorism. "Let me tell you there is no Al-Qaeda in Somalia," Ahmed told Al-Jazeera television in an interview broadcast on Monday.(More...)

'Lucy' is not direct ancestor of humans, Israeli researchers say

Tel Aviv University anthropologists say they have disproven the theory that "Lucy" - the world-famous 3.2-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis skeleton found in Ethiopia 33 years ago - is the last ancestor common to humans and another branch of the great apes family known as the "Robust hominids."

The specific structure found in Lucy also appears in a species called Australopithecus robustus. Prof. Yoel Rak and colleagues at the Sackler School of Medicine's department of anatomy and anthropology wrote, "The presence of the morphology in both the latter and Australopithecus afarensis and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of [Lucy] as a common ancestor." (More...)

Today's Top International Stories

-U.S: 32 killed in Virginia Tech shooting
(An unidentified person is carried out of Norris Hall at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. on Monday, April 16, 2007, after a shooting incident. A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom on the campus, killing at least 30 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. The gunman is killed but it's unclear if he was shot by police or took his own life. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Alan Kim)

-Sudan says yes to part of UN plan
-Obama leads field in fundraising (leftover money puts Clinton's total higher)
-Sadr ministers quit Iraqi cabinet (The head of Moqtada Sadr's Iraqi parliament bloc says the radical cleric has ordered his ministers to withdraw from the cabinet)
-German defense ministry condemns training video (army instructor filmed ordering recruit to imagine firing at "African Americans" who were insulting his mother)
-Relatives Express New Fears for BBC Gaza Kidnap Victim
-EU President Germany Denounces Russian Crackdown(Riot Police Kicked and Chased Anti-Kremlin Demonstrators)
-Pope Marks 80th Birthday With Huge Mass
-Protesters burn effigies of Gere after Shilpa kiss