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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Shemeles Kemal talks to AFP concerning those charged with trying to launch a rebellion

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day


[Audio] VOA reports on the new charges


Also in the news:
[Washington Update by Mesfin Mekonen] - [Ethiopian troops go house-to-house searching for weapons in Somali capital] - [Somali government orders local radios off the air] - [Online freedoms under threat, says Amnesty]

[Afworki: Eritrea Pleased with Iran's Nuclear Progress] - ["Deranged" German man tries to jump on Pope's jeep] - [Amnesty to monitor Darfur from space] - [GOP debate: By standing alone, McCain finds a chance to stand out] and more of today's top stories!


Special Call to Ethiopians Living in Northern Virginia, District of Columbia and Maryland


Ana Gomes will attend summit. If Ana can travel thousands of miles, YOU can travel a few miles to welcome and thank her. [MORE...]

EU parliamentary hearing on Ethiopia UPDATE
The lack of democracy and the large-scale human rights violations in Ethiopia condemned by MEPs [MORE...]

Press Release - Kinijit Support Association in South Korea

Shemeles Kemal talks to AFP concerning those charged with trying to launch a rebellion

[Audio] VOA reports on the new charges

.....(AFP, Agence France-Presse) "This is something different. It has to do with activities of CUD members who are in collaboration with some armed groups who want to destabilise the system," prosecutor Shemeles Kemal told Agence France-Presse by telephone.

The case has "nothing to do with those who are already on trial, the defendants are different. But it can be seen as a continuation," he said.

The prosecutor accused the defendants of operating under the cover of an illegal organisation called the Ethiopian People National Unity Front, according to Ethiopian state news agency ENA, quoting charges brought by the prosecution on Monday.

The trial of more than 100 opposition members has drawn deep concern from donors and criticism from rights groups that maintain the government is trying to stifle dissent in the wake of unrest following the May 2005 election that the CUD claims was rigged.(More...)

Also see:
-VOA news: Ethiopia Charges Opposition With Rebellion
-Opponents charged with rebellion
-Ethiopia charges 55

Washington Update

Mesfin Mekonen

1. The Society of Ethiopia Established in Diaspora (SEED) gave an award at its 15th annual award dinner on May 27 to Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) for his courage in defending the civil liberties and democratic freedom of the Ethiopian people and others, and for his continuing struggle to bring democracy to Ethiopia.

Rep. Smith made the following statements in response to questions from journalists about his legislation, H.R. 2228, the Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2007:

*"Despite Ethiopia's efforts in the War on Terror, our relationship has been terribly strained by their government's ongoing human rights abuses and cover-ups. We cannot turn a blind eye to these abuses, rather we must use our relationship to press for change."*

*"Human rights must remain central to our relationship with Ethiopia."*

*"Freedom and human rights in Ethiopia have seriously deteriorated under President Meles Zenawi. While the Prime Minister speaks of reform, his actions contradict his stories of change. There is little to zero in the way of true human rights reform in Ethiopia."*

2. Ethiopian-Americans greatly appreciate U.S. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto's efforts on behalf of Hailu Shawel. His humanitarian intervention made it possible for Hailu Shawel to receive urgently needed medical attention while he is imprisoned.

Mesfin Mekonen and CUD representative Seyoum Solomon coordinated the logistics and collection of funds for a physician to travel from South Africa to perform surgery that hopefully will save Hailu Shawel's sight. Of course, this extraordinary effort would not have been necessary if the Meles regime had not unjustly imprisoned members of the opposition who are guilty of nothing other than attempting to peacefully exercise their democratic and human rights.

Ethiopians everywhere hope that Ambassador Yamamoto and the U.S. government can be as energetic and successful in securing the unconditional release of all political prisoners in Ethiopia.

3. It is very important for Ethiopians to realize that H.R. 2228, and the related H.R. 2003, have been reintroduced and the legislative process has started from zero. It is essential that we again attract co-sponsors for the bills. We need to contact everyone who cosponsored Rep.

Smith's legislation last year and ask them to co-sponsor one or both of the bills that have been introduced this year. These two bills will be combined later in the year after negotiations between Rep. Smith and Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), the author of H.R. 2003.

4. The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to demand that Ethiopia meet its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Ethiopian-Americans around the country should emulate the example of Ethiopians in Massachusetts who worked hard and convinced legislators to take an active interest in democracy and human rights.

5. Abugida Ethiopian American Television Network broadcast a program about American political interest in promoting democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. The program is available at ( To skip to the segment, slide the bar on the bottom of the screen about half way to the right to 38 minutes.

Ethiopian troops go house-to-house searching for weapons in Somali capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Hundreds of Ethiopian troops trying to protect this country's fragile government went house-to-house searching for weapons Wednesday, a daunting task in a city teeming with firearms.

Several people were arrested and accused of being linked to an insurgency blamed for a string of deadly suicide bombs and other attacks. The insurgents vow to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war unless the country becomes an Islamic state.(More...)

Somali government orders local radios off the air

MOGADISHU (AFP) - Somalia's transitional government on Wednesday ordered three local private radio stations to stop broadcasting from the country's capital.

Mogadishu-based stations Shabelle Radio, Radio HornAfrik and the Voice of the Koran radio stopped broadcasting early Wednesday afternoon, an AFP correspondent said.

"We have been ordered to close the radio station and we don't know why so far," Mohamed Amin, director of Shabelle, told AFP.(More...)

Also see:
-Somalia FM stations closed down; US shows concerns over the closure
-Somalia: FM station shutdown

Online freedoms under threat, says Amnesty

Amnesty International today (6 June) warned that the Internet 'could change beyond all recognition' unless action is taken to stop the 'Virus of Internet repression' eroding freedom of expression online.

...The human rights organization highlighted increasing reports of 'Internet filtering' around the world, where governments block access to specific sites or sites featuring particular words or themes.

The latest Open Net Initiative (ONI) Report on Internet filtering shows that at least 25 countries now apply state-mandated net filtering including Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burma, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia.(More...)

Also see:
-The Terrible Growth of Internet Repression

Ethiopian Programmer lowers mobile communication barriers with Feedelix

Ted Kidane came to the United States from Ethiopia twenty four years ago as a student, with $50 in his pocket. He starts his talk with a story about misunderstanding - he was visiting a tax preparer (which he found weird as, in Ethiopia, the government never gives money back to you), and then man said “Get out of here.” Kidane didn’t know he was joking, and ran out of the office.

He offers this as a lesson in the importance of understanding language and communication. Sometime after fleeing at office (at high speeds - he’s from Addis, after all, and a runner), Kidane found himself working for HP. He was amazed that business conversations never included Africa.(More...)

Afworki: Eritrea Pleased with Iran's Nuclear Progress

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Eritrean President Isaias Afworki voiced pleasure with Iran's nuclear progress, and stressed his country's full support for Iran's access to peaceful nuclear technology.

According to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Bureau, the Eritrean president made the remarks in a meeting with Iran's accredited ambassador to Asmara Reza Ameri.

During the meeting Afworki appreciated the spiritual support extended by the Iranian people to the Eritrean revolutionary forces' movement for independence, and expressed much hope for the expansion of cooperation with the revolutionary administration of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.(More...)

Amnesty to monitor Darfur from space

Amnesty International aims to keep watch over war-ravaged Darfur via a website showing satellite images.

Human-rights activists are using high-resolution satellites to keep watch over imperiled villages in the Darfur region of Sudan and posting the images online to enlist help preventing violence.

The rights group invited people around the world to log on to, which will be updated regularly with new photographs, and help it monitor 12 vulnerable villages and put Khartoum on notice that these areas are being watched closely for signs of any further violence.

It also includes archived images that include some from the village of Donkey Dereis, which is shown in 2004 with hundreds of huts, but two years later had 1,171 homes gone and the landscape overgrown with vegetation.(More...)

GOP presidential debate
By standing alone, McCain finds a chance to stand out

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- When moderator Wolf Blitzer asked the 10 Republican presidential candidates whether any of them opposed making English the "official" language of the United States, Arizona Senator John McCain looked wearily down the line. He saw no hands going up.

(Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., standing, answers a question, while former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, left, listens during the Republican presidential primary debate.AP Photo)

McCain motioned to Blitzer with a half-wave and said: "I would like to remind you that we made treaties with Native Americans such as the Navajos in my state, where we respect their sovereignty and they use their native language in their deliberations. It's not a big deal. But Native Americans are important to me in my state."

McCain's weariness was understandable. After laboring for months to establish himself as the candidate of mainstream conservatives, the Arizona senator is now in the position of defending an immigration bill that many conservatives detest. And most of his fellow GOP presidential candidates at last night's debate attacked the bill like hungry dogs tearing into a hunk of sirloin.(More...)

Today's Top International Stories

-Canada Denies Visa to Winnie Mandela
-Food Warning Issued for Zimbabwe
-Bush pledges conciliation at G8
-"Deranged" German man tries to jump on Pope's jeep
-Israel-Palestinian summit postponed amid discord
-War stories: Egyptian pilot's memory of the humbling 1967 defeat