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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NES: The Elected are still in Jail

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[Resolutions Passed by the 56th International Press Institute (IPI) General Assembly on ETHIOPIA]
[Blast hits AU convoy in Somalia, kills peacekeepers] - [A shining light goes out in Africa] - [EMF update on the suppressed EU court observers' report] - [Meles rules out hurried exit from Somalia] - [Ethiopian refugees protest at the Pan African Parliament (PAP)]

[Sarkozy inaugurated as French president] - [Attack on Nigerian leader's house] - [Bush selects general for 'war czar'] - [Cannes film festival opens] and more of today's top stories!

Al-Amoudi gives $20m to Clinton Found’n: Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi has given 20 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation on Friday, May 11, 2007, in order to support the foundation’s effort in fighting HIV/Aids in Ethiopia. (More...)


The Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2007 (H.R. 2228)

The Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 (H.R. 2003)


The Second Anniversary of the May 15, 2005 Historic Election and the Elected are still in Jail: Shame on all of us!

COMMENTARY by the Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES)

“All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.” By Albert Enstein

1. Democracy still in jail

It is exactly two years since Ethiopia experienced one of the most open elections in its history. All of us who expected finally our country is going to make it by seeing a lawful, legitimate, citizen anchored, citizen choosing, citizen voting change from one set of parties and persons to another found ourselves in the unhappy situation where the usual mind set of those in power refuse to concede to the citizenry.

Today those that have been elected are still in prison. Far from democracy fully blossoming in the veins, arteries and soul of this ancient nation, we have democracy itself in prison. How else can one describe the difficulties of putting those who have done nothing but run in elections to express the highest form of citizenship, except to say in bewilderments continuing to imprison them is to continue to imprison democracy itself.(More...)

Resolutions Passed by the 56th International Press Institute (IPI) General Assembly

IPI Resolution on Ethiopian
Press Release

Meeting at its Annual General Assembly on 14 May 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey, the IPI membership adopted a resolution calling on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately release all imprisoned journalists and refrain from punishing the media for its reporting.

On 9 April, the Ethiopian High Court released eight journalists and editors detained since the Ethiopian authorities imprisoned large numbers of individuals following public unrest in November 2005. The disturbances followed parliamentary elections considered by many not to be free and fair.

The journalists were originally charged with a variety of so-called "anti-state" offences and genocide charges; these charges were subsequently rejected by the High Court.

On the 5 April, the president of the banned Ethiopian Press Freedom Journalists' Organization (EFJA), Kifle Mulat, was also cleared in court of outraging "the constitution and constitutional order."

While the IPI membership welcomes the release of these journalists, according to reports there are nine, possibly more, journalists still detained on charges dating back to November 2005.

Furthermore, the Ethiopian government is once against renewing its prosecution and imprisonment of journalists for old offences, often dating back many years. Newspapers have been closed and two foreign journalists expelled.

The IPI membership believes that editors and journalists have been arrested as a punishment for their writing. Therefore, the IPI membership calls on the Ethiopian government to release all imprisoned journalists, halt the closure of media organizations and allow the foreign media access to the country.

EMF: EU delagation on the court observers' report

EMF (Brussels, 16 May 2007) - Some European authorities are suppressing the report of the EU delegation observation on the court proceeding against Ethiopian political prisoners, sources close to the EU reveal. According to sources, the report is very critical to the Meles regime. It explains the entire political drama behind the judicial system and exposes how the judicial system is being openly used for political purposes.(More...)

Also see:
-EU observers' report on the Ethiopia Trials SUPPRESSED

Ethiopian refugees protest at the Pan African Parliament (PAP)

JOHANNESBURG – Ethiopian refugees living in South Africa protested against the detention of opposition leaders back home at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand on Wednesday.

They also protested against “the non-democratic government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi”. Among the placards waved was one that read: “Supporting tyrants is supporting terrorism.”

Organiser Messai Mamo told Sapa that after elections a year ago this week, Zenawi had declared a state of emergency after the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party had won all the parliamentary seats for the capital, Addis Ababa.(More...)

4 Peacekeepers Killed in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - A roadside bomb struck a convoy carrying African Union peacekeepers Wednesday, killing four peacekeepers in one of the deadliest attacks on the troops since they arrived in March, authorities said.

The attack occurred just weeks after the Somali government declared victory over Islamic insurgents who have vowed to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war unless the country becomes an Islamic state. The capital, Mogadishu, has been relatively calm since then, with sporadic bursts of deadly violence.

``Four of our solders were killed on the spot by the roadside bomb in north Mogadishu,'' said Capt. Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for the AU force.(More...)

Also see:
-Somalia blast kills 4 AU peacekeepers
-6 people killed in Somalia explosions
-Blast hits AU convoy in Somalia, kills peacekeepers
-Somalia blast kills four AU peacekeepers

INTERVIEW-Ethiopia's Meles rules out hurried exit from Somalia

ADDIS ABABA, May 16 (Reuters) - Ethiopian troops will not leave conflict-torn Somalia until several thousand more African peacekeepers arrive to avoid a security vacuum, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Wednesday.

"It is a burden financially and otherwise that we would have preferred to do without," the Ethiopian leader told Reuters in an interview at his offices in Addis Ababa.

"But we recognise that if we were to withdraw in a precipitous manner, it would affect the security of Somalia negatively and also of the region. We will withdraw in a responsible manner, making sure there is no security vacuum."

That, Meles said, meant waiting for the African Union's (AU) delayed mission to reach about half its planned strength of 8,000 troops.(More...)

A shining light goes out in Africa


On Saturday, May 5, Anthony Mitchell died in the crash of Kenyan Airways Flight 507, which killed all 114 people on board. Based in Nairobi, he was an Associated Press reporter who had recently broken a story on secret prisons in Ethiopia and the United States involvement in the detention and interrogation of prisoners there.

The world has lost another journalist, one who was taking the necessary risks to get at the heart of the complex and often ignored story of Africa.

Most Americans know of Somalia as the setting for the feature film Black Hawk Down. This film depicted the failed 1993 U.S. military assault on Mogadishu.

Eighteen U.S. soldiers died. Less well-known, more than 1,000 Somalis also were killed. Somalia, which had been mostly ignored by the U.S. media, was briefly in the news as the U.S.-backed Ethiopian military overthrew the Islamic Courts Union, which had been controlling most of Somalia.(More...)

Meles praises Blair as "friend of Africa"

ADDIS ABABA, May 16 (Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi praised his outgoing British counterpart Tony Blair on Wednesday for his commitment to Africa.

"He has been a great friend for Africa," said Meles, a close ally of Blair who sat on his Africa Commission, created to diagnose the continent's problems.

"I doubt whether Africa has had a more sincere friend at 10 Downing Street than Tony Blair," Meles added. "I am happy that he is leaving on his own terms ... I wish him all the best."(More...)

Today's Top International Stories

-Google Blocked In Ethiopia(Blogger is unavailable to local users)
-Attack on Nigerian leader's house
-Bush selects general for 'war czar'
-Sarkozy inaugurated as French president
-US concerned about factional violence in Palestinian territories
-Moscow talks fail to ease East-West tensions
-Prince Harry not to serve in Iraq
-Germany Tightens Security Ahead of G8 Summit
-Living by the gun (Why Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world)
-Cannes film festival opens