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UA 353/94 - Ethiopia: fear of ill-treatment / legal concern: Yodit (Judith) Imru, Hirut (Ruth) Imru, Mammie Imru, Amarech Mengistu and three other UN employees, Almas Haile-Mariam and other AAPO party officials, office staff and members, Beletshachew Girm

, Índice: AFR 25/021/1994

Several hundred demonstrators were arrested at the Central High Court in Addis Ababa on 20 September 1994. It is believed those named above and many others are prisoners of conscience and there is concern they may be ill-treated in detention. They are being held incommunicado in Sendafa Police College and have not been brought before a court within the 48-hours prescribed by law. They were peacefully demonstrating support for Professor Asrat Woldeyes, chairman of the opposition political party All-Amhara People's Organization (AAP0) who is already serving time for inciting violence, a charge he denies, and was facing a further trial on similar charges.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 25/21/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 353/94 Fear of Ill-treatment / Legal Concern 23 September 1994
ETHIOPIAYodit (Judith) Imru (f), former ambassador
Hirut (Ruth) Imru (f)
Mammie Imru (f)
(three sisters of former Prime Minister Ras Michael Imru, aged in their 60s)
Amarech Mengistu, UN employee (Economic Commission for Africa) - and three
other UN employees
Almas Haile-Mariam (f), official of the All-Amhara People's Organization
(AAPO) and other AAPO party officials, office staff and members
Beletshachew Girma (f), wife of former AAPO official
Telela Kebede (f), well-known singer
Fitawari Mammo Beshie, c 60 years old
Fitawari Gebre-Hiwot Wolde-Hawariat, c 70 years old, former long-term
prisoner of conscience under the Mengistu government
Abate Agide, former ambassador
Firesew Feleke, opposition National Democratic Union official, former
political prisoner (1993)
- and some hundreds of others
(Ras and Fitawari are traditional Ethiopian titles)
Several hundred demonstrators were arrested at the Central High Court in Addis
Ababa on 20 September 1994. Amnesty International believes those named above
and many others not named are prisoners of conscience, and is concerned that
they may be ill-treated in detention.
The detainees are currently being held in Sendafa Police College near Addis
Ababa. They have not been allowed access to their relatives, lawyers or medical
doctors, and have not been allowed to receive food from relatives, as is usual
in Ethiopian prisons. They have not been taken to court within the prescribed
48-hour period after which detainees should be either released or remanded
for investigation on a specific criminal charge.
Those arrested were among a large crowd of people demonstrating support for
Professor Asrat Woldeyes, chairman of the opposition political party All-Amhara
People's Organization (AAPO), who is currently serving a prison sentence for
inciting violence, a charge which he denied. He is on trial again on a similar
charge, together with two former AAPO officials, Abebe Wondimeneh and Dr Abebe
Wolde-Michael, who are free on bail.
According to Amnesty International's information, the crowd was peacefully
protesting the imprisonment and new trial of Professor Asrat Woldeyes. Some
stones were thrown when armed police began arresting and beating people. They
were taken away in trucks and their whereabouts in custody were initially not
known.
Demonstrators arrested on 31 December 1993 at a previous political trial and
taken to Sendafa Police College were ill-treated (see EXTRA 107/93, update
AFR 25/11/94, 21 April 1994).
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
These are the first arrests of people demonstrating support for Professor Asrat
Woldeyes at his numerous court appearances. He was imprisoned for two years
2
on 27 June 1994 (News Service 142/94, AFR 25/WU 02/94, 1 July 1994).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at these mass arrests at this mainly peaceful demonstration
on 20 September 1994;
- noting that the law requires that they are either taken to court without
delay or released;
- appealing for them to be given immediate access to relatives, lawyers and
medical treatment if needed;
- seeking assurances that there is no ill-treatment of these prisoners;
- calling for the unconditional release of those named above and others not
involved in any violence at the demonstration.
APPEALS TO:
1) His Excellency President Meles Zenawi
Office of the President
P O Box 1031, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telegrams: President Meles, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telexes: 21050 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Faxes: + 251 1 514300 or 511244 or 514042 (c/o Ministry of Foreign
Affairs)
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) Mr Mahteme Solomon
Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice,
P O Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telegrams: Minister of Justice, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Faxes: + 251 1 550 722
Salutation: Dear Minister
3) Mr Hassan Shiffa, Coordinator of Police and Prison Administration,
Ministry of Internal Affairs, P O Box 5721, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telegrams: Mr Hassan Shiffa, Internal Affairs, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Faxes: + 251 1 552020 (via State Council)
Salutation: Dear Sir
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Mr Kemal Bedri
President of the Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice,
P O Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (fax = Minister of Justice)
Ethiopian Human Rights Council,
P O Box 2432, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
and to diplomatic representative of Ethiopia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMEMDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 5 November 1994.

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