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Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Week in review plus weekend news

Weekend Top Stories:
[Convictions in Ethiopia Trials Condemned by Amnesty International USA]
[Somalia insurgents show missile in video] - [Sebhat Nega stirs things up in Ethiopia] - [Ministers 'knew Ethiopia Swedes were tortured'] and more of the weekend's top stories!

The Week in Review


The following articles are by Seblework Tadesse, CUDP member and former prisoner of conscience at Kality penitentiary

A Personal Call to Action (Part 1)
A Personal Call to Action (Part 2)


[audio] IEWO Interview with Seblework Tadesse - June 17


Sebhat Nega stirs things up in Ethiopia
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1216 16/06/2007

The interview of a leader of the governing party broadcast on 28 May by Radio Dimtse, owned by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, government), has made significant waves in Addis Ababa.

Sebhat Nega tried in this interview to put himself over as the voice of Ethiopian nationalism. He hence defended a very hard line against the Ethiopian opposition, while nevertheless presenting the TPLF as the spearhead and guarantor of Eritrean independence. He went as far as to state that the current Ethiopian government was “the sole force able to defend Eritrean independence”.

This extreme position came over as the expression of a muffled power struggle at the top of the TPLF, in which Sebhat Nega was positioning himself as an alternative to the present Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Accordingly, Sebhat Nega, who holds a post of responsibility in the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (Effort), could be the target of an investigation into the financial management of this consortium of companies with links to the government coalition. Certain Ethiopian MPs have already called for precisely such an investigation.

He has therefore mobilised his sister Kidusan Nega, the mayor of Mekele, her husband Tsegaye Berhe the President of the Tigray Regional State, and other members of his family and friends to prepare to fireback against a possible accusation of corruption that could be levelled against him. Such a tactic had already been used a few years ago against the TPLF dissident Seye Abraha.

The mobilisation of his partisans confirms Sebhat Nega is planning to return to the limelight of the political scene. They have been fuelling the reproaches made against Meles Zenawi for keeping Seye Abraha, “a TPLF hero” in prison and call for him to be freed. Sebhat Nega has tested the feeling of the Tigrayan Diaspora about him by gaining the support of a former TPLF dissident now living in exile in Ohio (USA), Bisrat Amare, who went back to the TPLF after the general election in July 2005.

Also see:
-WHO IS IN POWER? (EthioMedia)

Convictions in Ethiopia Trials Condemned by Amnesty International USA

(New York) -- Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) condemns the recent convictions in Ethiopia of 38 opposition party members, journalists and a human rights defender on charges that could carry life in prison or the death penalty.

"We are deeply concerned about the fairness of political trials in Ethiopia and call on the government to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience," said Lynn Fredriksson, advocacy director for Africa for AIUSA.

The defendants were convicted on June 11 after a 14 month trial by the Federal High Court of Ethiopia. The group included Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, founder and first president of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, who has been a "special focus" case for AIUSA.(More...)

-[Audio]Lynn Fredriksson, Advocacy Director for Amnesty International USA on the Trials

Ministers 'knew Ethiopia Swedes were tortured'

Swedish Foreign Ministry officials had been told that three Swedes imprisoned in Ethiopia had been tortured, it has been revealed in a report by the Swedish Security Police (Säpo).

The three men have told a number of Swedish media that they were exposed for various forms of torture during the four months that they were in Ethiopian prisons. They claimed that they told Säpo and Swedish Embassy officials of this while they were still jailed in Ethiopia.(More...)

Somalia insurgents show missile in video

NAIROBI, Kenya - A video circulating in Somalia's capital shows a masked man firing a surface-to-air missile — a graphic but unsubstantiated claim that Islamic insurgents in the country are capable of shooting down planes.

The video, available on the streets of Mogadishu and obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, is one of several released recently by the insurgents, echoing the propaganda tactics of radical groups in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. They may serve less to communicate with the world than to rally supporters at a time when the movement has been driven underground by Somalia's government and its Ethiopian military backers.(More...)