by Abadir M. Ibrahim | Addis Standard (Addis Ababa)
Something was awry at a hearing of the High Court of Ethiopia on July 6, 2015. As the much anticipated conviction of Muslim civil society leaders (Abubaker Ahmed and 17 others) was underway, it was clear that this was no ordinary trial.
Security was beefed up, the public gallery was crowded and the atmosphere was tense. A significant amount of time was spent with the court presenting a detailed defense of the government’s policies on counterterrorism and Muslim-state relations. The court also defended the state’s imposition of the Ahbash sect and, in an odd twist, compared the Ahbash sect to Zoroastrianism in Iran. Given how much time was spent on defending the government’s positions, the morning session made it feel as if the Ethiopian state was on trial and not the other way around.
Lawmakers from US, EU and UK demand release of death-row Brit in Ethiopia
(Reprieve) – A group of legislators from the US, UK and Europe have demanded the release of a British activist who has been held in a secret Ethiopian prison for over a year.
Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege, a prominent figure in the Ethiopian opposition, was abducted at a Yemeni airport in June 2014 and forcibly taken to Ethiopia. He has been held since in a secret location, and has been denied access to a lawyer, his family, proper consular visits and independent medical treatment. Andy was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 on charges relating to his political activities. Torture of political prisoners in Ethiopia is common, and the UN and human rights organization Reprieve – which is assisting Mr Tsege’s family – have raised concerns that he is being mistreated.