Ethiopia: Our Deepest Concern about Mr. Abdi Regassa’s Mistreatment in Prison
Nus adunyaa jirru irraa tumsa qabsoof deeggarsa mallaqaafii hiriira balaaleefannaa moottuummaa nafxanyaa ABIY irratti godhamu Kan dur caalaa cimnee ittii fufuuf deemna
We, the siblings, Canadian citizens, are writing to express our deepest concern and worry regarding Mr. Abdi Regassa’s imprisonment and kept in solitary confinement in Ethiopia since his arbitrary arrest on February 29, 2020. Despite several pressures from different civil society organizations and rights advocates including Amnesty International (report/news on 3 March 2020), and Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA), March 8, 2020, Mr. Abdi’s mistreatment by the Ethiopian government didn’t receive international attention. We would like to take this opportunity to express our greatest appreciation and gratitude to Amnesty International, HRW and HRLHA for being a voice to and bringing different human rights abuses to public including that of Mr. Abdi’s case.
Mr. Abdi Regassa was a member of executive committee of opposition party – Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). He returned to Ethiopia following the invitation by the current Ethiopian government on September 15, 2018. Since his return to Ethiopia he was taking part in his party activity and rallying and preparing for the upcoming election in Ethiopia. He was in charge of the coming election campaign. While he was in his regular activity, on February 29, 2020 the security apparatus of the government arrested him and eight other leaders of OLF. The arrest was without warrant. The security personals physically abused Mr. Abdi and his colleagues upon arrest and confiscated his personal documents and computer. After his and his colleagues arrest, the government released eight of his colleagues but not Mr. Abdi. For 14 Days we were told he was in Burayu detention center. But since March 16,2020 no one knows where the police put him in confinement. His lawyer was denied access to speak with Mr. Abdi. His families are also prevented from reaching him neither do they know his whereabout.
Mr. Abdi had a court appointment on March 27,2020 but the police did not present him on his appointment day at the court. Hence, the court proceeding was held in his absence (the order of the court is enclosed with this affidavit). Since his lawyer and family members are denied access to speak with Mr. Abdi, no one is able to know how many times and on which days, if at all, he appeared at the court. Neither his family nor his lawyer know the outcome from Mr. Abdi’s court proceeding.
On top of keeping him in confinement, it is highly concerning given Mr. Abdi Regassa’s preexisting serious respiratory health issue. His families are worried his health condition would worsen if he is kept in the confinement areas like a dark and cold rooms which is a common trend by the government. Added to this, the whole situation is worrisome with the spread of COVID-19 still in the rise in the country. The fact that he may not be able to access a medical service, the risk is even higher. We also are worried he may have been subjected to risk of torture and other ill-treatments.
All these happened against Mr. Abdi in violation of international fundamental human rights and constitutional right to due process of justice, against arbitrary arrest and freedom from ill-treatment, torture and forced disappearance. The Ethiopian constitution clearly states the right to due process of law under Ar. 19 and 20. Likewise, fundamental human right to due process of law which Ethiopia ratifies as part of its constitution.
Against the above concerns, we would like to express our deepest concern about the safety and condition of Mr. Abdi Regassa. Hence, we kindly request your government with this communication to putting pressure on the Ethiopian Government to give Mr. Abdi access to his lawyer and family. Most importantly access to medical care. We would also like to bring to your attention that different forms of aid and assistance being extended from your government to Ethiopia is being deployed to silence and suppress decedent voices and opposition party leaders and members such as Mr. Abdi. Therefore, we sincerely hope your government to use its leverage to pressure the Ethiopian government to refrain from widespread human rights violation across the country.
• UN Human Rights Council
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
• Africa Union (AU)
African Union Headquarters
P.O. Box 3243 | Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) | W21K19 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District
Western Region, P.O. Box 673 Banjul
Tel: (220) 441 05, 05, 441 05 06
• The US Department of State
WASHINGTON, D.C. HEADQUARTERS
Office of Foreign Missions
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Washington, D.C. 20520
Customer Service Center
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Washington, D.C. 20522-3303
• UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
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Fax: 020 7219 5851
London, SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020 7008 1500
• Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada)
Enquiries Service (BCI)
Global Affairs Canada
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• Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sweden)
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• Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway)
His Excellency BørgeBrende
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Phone: + 47 23 95 00 00
Address: 7. juniplassen 1, N-0032 Oslo
Via: Oromsis Elemo
OMN GRD: ከአቶ ፈይሰል ሮብሌ (Los Angeles-USA) ጋር ያደረግነውን ቆይታ (June 4, 2020)