Deplores Ethiopian Verdicts
We strongly condemn this politically driven and unjust guilty verdict. This kind of authoritarian behavior will only lead to more violence and instability.
We are deeply shocked and dismayed to hear the guilty verdict of the 38
courageous human rights advocates, elected parliamentarians, and
opposition leaders. This decision clearly demonstrates that the
judicial process is controlled and managed by the ruling party in
The verdict by the Court also proves beyond doubt that the Courts lack
the necessary and required independence from political influence. These
prisoners were deliberately and systematically misled by the Prime
Minster’s office that a peaceful resolution was possible. In fact, on a
number of occasions we were led to believe that an agreement between
the prisoners and the Prime Minister was reached.
We strongly condemn this politically driven and unjust guilty verdict.
This kind of authoritarian behavior will only lead to more violence and
instability. What crime did the prisoners commit? They ran for
parliament and won.
Many Ethiopians lost their lives under this regime and many have been
tortured while in prison. The Commission of Inquiry that the Ethiopian
Parliament established to investigate the June 8, 2005 and November
1-10, 2005 violence, concluded that 193 civilians were killed and 763
injured by government security forces.
This regime not only murdered innocent civilians in the streets of the
capital, but also killed prisoners who were locked up in their
quarters. According to the Commission, security forces fired 1,500
bullets at prisoners inside the corrugated iron building, killing 17
and injuring 53 prisoners.
Now, who is guilty of multiple crimes? The prisoners or the government
whose own Commission of Inquiry stated that security forces used
excessive force against civilians? Once again, we call for the
immediate release of these prisoners without condition.
Payne is a US Congressman and Ana Gomes a member of the European Parliament
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