THE LIFE SENTENCE OF THE ETHIOPIAN PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE. OPEN LETTER TO THOSE RESPONSIBLE

YILMA BEGASHAW  

1.  The Darkest Day 

It is one of those darkest days. The most peace-loving, caring, highly educated and experienced innocent citizens have been given life sentences. These innocent people include internationally renowned Professors, Doctors, Engineers and Journalists. The regime that is itself responsible for genocide and gross crime against humanity in Ethiopia and in the Region is using its Kangaroo Court and the Rule of the Jungle to increase the sufferings of those genuine citizens and the instability of the Country. The only real ‘crime’ of these people is their landslide victory during the May 2005 National Election and the reporting of true information by the free press. 

2.   History is repeating itself – Negative Intervention of External Enemies 

History is repeating itself again, in that most troubled part of the World. It is very hard to believe that the Meles dictatorship can take such measures without the tacit approval of our external enemies who are its sponsors. They are the ones who put him in power from the beginning. Despite the valid testimonies and reports of their own International Election Observers such as the EU and the Carter Centre, regarding the massively rigged votes, they chose to give blind eyes and continued to support him to cling to power. They need puppets to serve their interests. They need such puppets and servants to destabilise countries and regions to facilitate their usual ‘divide and rule’ long policies. Yester years, the true African leaders who struggled for African unity and freedom, such as Kuwame Nykrumah and Patrice Lumumba were assassinated by the joint forces of internal and external enemies. They bluffed at the  historical speeches of our Late Emperor Haile Selassie at the League of Nations and continued to support Fascist Italy. The Emperor prophesised at that meeting that if they fail to abide by the Charter and stop supporting the aggressor, soon there will be a knock at each of their doors with similar perils. That was a true prophesy: in no time, their doors were knocked, demolished and devastated by a similar Nazi power that brought hitherto unseen level of destruction to property and to the lives of millions. ‘Atwal Yiwalubeh Atmker Yimkeru, Beseferut Quna Mesefer Ayqeru’. 

The Ethiopian people have already lost their confidence and trust in those external powers – be it from the Eastern Blocks during the previous dictatorship and from the Western Powers during the current brutal dictatorship. The innocent public in the West have indeed saved the lives of millions during those man-made and natural calamities. However, their governments have proved, times and again, that they do not wish to see national and regional stabilities and progress, as this may threaten their ‘divide and rule’ policies. Perhaps another round of the enslavement of the ‘Dark Continent’ is in the making, to pave the way for access to land resources as they are fast running out of mineral resources and fresh air.

  3.    A Call to the Ethiopian People 

We have many individual friends among the international communities such as Right Honourable Anna Gomez, MEP and Congressman Donald Payne. However, we have been continuously let down by the external powers who do not appear to care much about the long sufferings of our people.

The solution to the chronic problems of our great people is only in the hands of our Almighty Creator and our heroic people. Things are getting worse day by day, in front of our very eyes. We do not have the luxury to have any rest while our people are being subjected to barbarity, brutality and hail. At this critical time, any difference in the form of ethnicity, religion, politics or personal petty ambitions cannot be allowed to stand on our way. We are living in collective humility and shame. Let us pray. Let us repent for our sins. Let us join hands and develop a strongest bond that cannot be broken by any power. People’s Power is above every thing and every body. There is nothing more  to loose by struggling for freedom. There is so much at stake if we are not willing to do what we are supposed to do for our freedom and dignity.  

We Shall Win with the Joint Might of Our Unity and with the Blessing of Our All Almighty Creator.

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Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 10:37 pm  Comments (2)  

Zemene Girnbit (Amharic poem PDF)

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ethiopia life jail terms attacked

BBC 

Monday, 16 July 2007: The head of the European Union 2005 election observers in Ethiopia has said she is “appalled” at the life sentences given to 30 opposition leaders.

Ana Gomes told the BBC the sentences were “farcical” and “inhumane” and urged the EU to seek their release.

Another eight people were given shorter jail terms, while five were tried in absentia for their role in violent protests at alleged poll-rigging.  

Ethiopia‘s information minister hinted that the 38 could soon be freed.

Bereket Simon told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that the government was looking into their apology and request for a pardon

“The prisoners have admitted… trying to overthrow the government by the use of force and have asked for clemency.”

He said that now that the legal process had ended, a new political process would start.

Many Ethiopians expect the 38 to be freed soon by the government.

Their relatives say the detainees have signed a document which could pave the way for their release.

The prosecution had demanded the death penalty for them all.

Reconciliation

Ms Gomes told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that she thought life in prison was just as bad as the death penalty.

“[Their] only crime was to express their opinions freely in elections, which were supposed to be democratic,” she said.

High court judge Adil Ahmed also barred the 30 Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leaders from voting or standing for election.

“The accused have committed serious crimes, which caused the death of civilians and security forces and attempted to overthrow the government,” he said.

“The accused have also failed to present to the court mitigating evidences for the charges brought against them.”

But he said they did not deserve the death penalty.

Before the sentences, the US had warned that any judgement should promote reconciliation between the government and the opposition.

The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says the trial has been closely watched in the city, a CUD stronghold.

She says that the entire front row of seats in the court was taken up by diplomats and a simultaneous English translation was provided.

Apology?

Five of the 38, including CUD leader Hailu Shawel, were convicted of inciting, organising and leading armed rebellion.

Among the 38 are the entire CUD leadership, several of the capital’s elected MPs and city councillors, including Berhanu Negga, mayor-elect of Addis Ababa.

Hundreds of thousands took part in demonstrations complaining of fraud and rigging in the elections won by Prime Minister Meles’ party.

Some 193 people were killed in protests at alleged vote-rigging. Most of the dead were protesters, killed by security forces.

Tarnished

An independent inquiry carried out by an Ethiopian judge concluded that the police had used excessive force.

He went on to accuse them of carrying out a massacre. The judge later fled Ethiopia, saying he had been put under pressure to change his findings and had received death threats.

The government points out that it introduced multiparty elections to Ethiopia after years of military rule.

In the elections, the opposition made huge gains but says it was cheated out of victory.

Three months ago, a judge threw out controversial charges of attempted genocide and treason against 111 people, including those sentenced on Monday, over the election protests.

The violence and the charges of election fraud have tarnished Mr Meles’ image as a favourite of Western donors and one of a new wave of reforming African leaders.

Some donors have reduced aid over the case.  

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 9:59 pm  Comments (3)  

Kinijit Officials in Seattle


The Seattle Kinijit Support Group Press Release
 

Kinijit Central Committee members, Dr Bezabeh Demissie and Major Admasu Melaku arrived in Seattle on Thursday, July 11 to a warm welcome at the SeaTac Airport by supporters of the party. On July 13 the Chairman and Head of the newly formed Kinijit International Council, Dr Taye Woldesemait and Ato Mesfin Makonen respectively arrived in Seattle where they were greeted in a similar manner accorded to the CC members at the airport.

The Kinijit officials Team of four spent most of their time discussing the dire situation both in our country and the problem of the Diaspora Kinijit support leadership and the panacea our leaders have prescribed to alleviate the problems. Kinijit Central Committee members along with the Chairman and Foreign Relations Head of the KIC were here in Seattle as part of their West Coast cities working tour.

Duing their stay in Seattle, the Team held meetings with Community Leaders, met with the local UEDF Support Chapter Leaders, Youth and Women groups and Ethiopian business establishments. The discussion primarily focused on the dire situation of our incarcerated leaders and the problems of the Diaspora Kinijit Support movement. In all their meetings they also outlined and briefly discussed their four months investigation concerning the problems of the Diaspora Kinijit Leadership. The officials openly enumerated the directives and guidance, which they are now trying to enforce, given by Kinijit Party Executive Committee.

On Sunday, July 15th, Ethiopians living in and around Seattle including from Vancouver, Canada and Portland, Oregon came and assembled at Yestler Community Center to listen, debate and express their views concerning the newly structured KIC and the role of the Diaspora Kinijit Support movement. The four team officials of Kinijit took turns to brief the audience on the specific directives issued by the party executive body.

After the briefing, an open question and answer session followed where the audience was encouraged to ask any questions pertinent to the party’s role in the Diaspora and about the new directives issued by our leaders.  The debate and question answer session continued, with occasional applause showing support for the delegates, until 6:00 pm.

The meeting ended with a high note that Seattle will once again, as it always does, pull its resources together, stand in unison and support the struggle for the unconditional release of our leaders, the respect and protection of basic human rights in our homeland. The Kinijit officials left Seattle for Los Angeles for the next leg of their tour for a similar program.

July 20th   Sacramento

July 21st    San Jose

July 25th   Las Vegas

July 28th   San Diego

July 29th   LA

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 8:56 pm  Comments (4)  

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