The U.S. also urges the Govt to restore access to the Internet for all its citizens ASAP.
By ESAT News,
The United States says the Ethiopian regime is using the martial law it declared in October to silence dissent.
Deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State Mark Toner said on Thursday that the arrest of Dr. Merara Gudina, Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, was “yet another example of increasing restrictions on independent voices in Ethiopia.”
Toner went on to say that the arrest of Gudina upon his return from Europe, where he spoke against the tyrannical regime in his country in a testimony at the European Parliament, “further reinforces our view that Ethiopia’s declared state of emergency is perhaps being used to silence dissent and deny the constitutionally protected rights of Ethiopia’s citizens.”
Dr. Gudina was arrested in Addis Ababa upon his return from Europe following a campaign by the state affiliated media for his arrest saying he had violated the martial law when he testified against the regime along with Prof. Berahnu Nega, the leader of Patriotic Ginbot 7, an armed group fighting the regime.
Patriotic Ginbot 7 is outlawed by the iron fist government that doesn’t allow independent political organizations, which are a threats to its rule.
— U.S. Embassy Addis (@USEmbassyAddis) December 2, 2016
Prof. Merara Gudina is the chair person of the Oromo Federalist Congress party and the vice chair person of a coalition political party named Medrek.
Prof. Merara Gudina had been invited by the European Commission to testify on the deteriorating state of human rights and violations in Ethiopia. Together with two other invited speakers, Prof. Biranu Nega from the Patriotic Ginbot 7 and athlete Lelisa Feyissa, Gudina criticized the government for failing to deliver basic democracy and rule of law in the country.
After his trip from Europe, Prof. Merara Gudiana has been detained and and accused of having some connection or communication with Patriotic Ginbot 7 and with its chair person Dr. Birhanu Nega. The Ethiopian government has labelled Patriotic Ginbot 7 as a terrorist organisation where no other country in the world labels this group as so.
The Deputy Department Spokesperson has been asked the following question by a journalist:
Question: “Back to Africa. The chairman of the Oromo federalist Congress opposition in Ethiopia has been arrested. Gudina is well known, I think, in this building,he had meetings here and on the capital in the past; allegedly, has met or communicated with band organization. Is there any information on that?”
Mark Toner replied: “Yeah, we do, actually. We’re obviously aware that, as you noted, the Oromo Federal Congress chairman Dr. Merara Gudina has been detained by the Ethiopian Government. We’re concerned about this report. We strongly encourage the government to make public any charges it has brought against Dr. Merara. If true, this arrest is yet another example of increasing restrictions on independent voices in Ethiopia and, frankly further reinforces our view that Ethiopia’s declared state of emergency is perhaps being used to silence dissent and deny the constitutionally protected rights of Ethiopia’s citizens. And that’s contrary, I would say, to the promise of a political reform made by the Ethiopian Government when the state of emergency was announced so we’re watching it very closely.”
The government in Ethiopia has declared a six-month state of emergency following nation wide wave of protests, especially in Amahra and Oromo regions. More than 16, 000 people have been jailed after the state of emergency being declared.