Asking Ambassador Power to follow up on the Qilinto Prison Fire
(Change.Org) –This is a petition calling on Ambassador Power to follow up on the inconceivable number of deaths that occurred at Ethiopia’s Qilinto prison. It has been confirmed that 23 people, with other accounts suggesting a total of 60 prisoners, were found dead due to multiple gun shoots and suffocation as the prison was set on fire. The Ethiopian government has not provided legitimate evidence of how or why the incident transpired nor have they verified the identities of a major of the deceased. Since many of the prisoner are Oromo activists such as the prominent leader Bekele Gerba et al., journalists, politicians, and human right advocating leaders, we have reason to suspect that foul play is involved and are calling for an independent investigation.
During the early morning of September 3rd, gunshots were heard at Qilinto’s notorious prison where above 3000 political prisoners are held for more than three years as they await trial. Soon after the incident, several internationally run local news agencies, such as OMN and Addis Standard, confirmed that bodies of prisoners were found with multiple gun shoot wounds while other bodies were on fire. An eye witness told Addis Standard that armed prison guards were indiscriminately shooting at several prisoners who were running “frantically to extinguish the fire out”. This makes the Qilinto prison the 3rd prison fire that has occurred in Ethiopia over the past year.
According to BBC, the Ethiopian government has only recently confirmed that approximately 23 deaths due to the prison incident. According to other news and activists, the number of deaths is estimated to be over 60. Over three days have passed since the incident and there is little to no evidence of the whereabouts of survivors as families anxiously wait for news of what has happened to their loved ones.
According to Human Rights Groups, over the course of 10 months 500 people have already died while peacefully protesting in Oromo regions around Ethiopia. We are gravely concerned about the safety and well-being of all prisoners in Qilinto and other prisons in Ethiopia, as tens of thousands of civilians and activist are held in several prisons and military training camps.
The petition urges Ambassador Power to take measurable action that guarantees the well-being of innocent students and activist who are the foundation of the Ethiopian community. The #OromoProtests and the Ethiopia people in general would like to ask you to make sure that the TPLF regime takes responsibility for the cruel killing of innocent and legal prisoners. As well as request to push for human rights in Ethiopia.
This petition will be delivered to:
- U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
US Ambassador Samantha Power
- US State Department
- US Senate and House Foreign Relations
President of the United States