Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP)
On June 27 the world woke up to learn the dreadful news of yet another round of repressions and wrongful convictions emerging from Ethiopia. This time the victims were twenty four Ethiopian democracy campaigners and political leaders, among who eight are already under detention. All have been wrongfully charged under the regime’s anti-terrorism laws. That includes the two powerful voices of democracy and courageous individuals: Eskender Nega, the award winning journalist and writer and Andualem Arage, Vice Chairman of UDJ party.
In its statement of June 27, Amnesty International condemned the verdict, “This is a dark day for justice in Ethiopia, where freedom of expression is being systematically destroyed by a government targeting any dissenting voice,” and called for the immediate release of the prisoners.
The ruling party literally owns and operates the country’s army, police and security forces. Contrary to its own constitution the courts and the entire judicial system are appendages of the ruling party as well. In spite of this, the Ethiopian dictatorship appears to suffer from perennial fear and insecurity caused by deepseated distrust of the people, and the hostile political and social environment around it. That is why the regime is constantly engaged in undermining and repressing the opposition and the independent media.
The opposition in the country is legally organized and conducts its business peacefully and yet its leaders and members are regularly harassed and persecuted as terrorists. It is heart wrenching to read Andualem Arage expressing his frustration after the guilty verdict: “I have struggled for peaceful democracy, and I have never disrespected any individual and I didn’t commit a crime. My conscience is clear,” he said.
We also notice that the independent media is equally persecuted although its members operate legally and peacefully. Often times they spoke and wrote of peaceful change in their country and yet they are charged of terrorism. In protest of the conviction, Pen International states, “That Eskinder was put on trial at all for his writing, shows a shameful disdain for Ethiopia’s obligations to its citizens and to international law, and further proof of its alarming descent into an authoritarian state. This guilty verdict is an affront to journalists everywhere who exercise their internationally-protected right to freedom of expression.”
EPRP (Democratic) vehemently condemns the guilty verdict handed by the Ethiopian court to the twenty four democracy advocates. We demand Meles Zenawi’s regime to release the eight activists under detention without delay. We also urge the US and EU governments to suspend all forms of economic assistance to the authoritarian regime until the later respects the human and democratic rights of the people. Finally we call upon the Ethiopian people to rise up and defend their rights and freedoms by all possible means.