FEATURE ANALYSIS: BEHIND THE ARRESTS OF THOUSANDS & MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE IS THE SILENT SUFFERINGS OF PRISONERS’ FAMILIES

FEATURE ANALYSIS: BEHIND THE ARRESTS OF THOUSANDS & MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE IS THE SILENT SUFFERINGS OF PRISONERS’ FAMILIES

#Ethiopia: Behind the arrests of thousands & miscarriage of justice is the silent sufferings of prisoners’ families
#AddisStandard‘s #SiyaanneMekonnen looked into the social, psychological & financial crisis of having loved ones, often the family breadwinners, locked away.
Excerpts:
#SisayBekele, a father of a one-year-old baby boy, was freed by a court after his arrest in July. But he was rearrested by #Oromia police as his wife, #TejituUrga, was battling against an advanced endometrial cancer. Tejitu succumbed to her illness & was buried in his absence.
#KelebSeyoum (Aster) is facing terrorism with other members of the Balderas for Genuine Democracy party. It’s the 2nd time she is indicted with terrorism. She was nursing her first born during her first arrest; she left her second child at home yet again. Her husband speaks to #AS.
#SamuelBekele, who was recently detained, & who grew up in the absence of his father #BekeleGerba, speaks of the fear his family is living under especially after the Attorney General publicly referenced to his detained father & others as “ultra-nationalist, violent militant.”
#AselefechMulatu, the wife of the #OFC senior leadership Dejene Tafa, reflects on the first time he was pardoned from prison 2 years ago. “I am aware that freedom is not the pardoning of 3 or 4 renowned political prisoners.” Recently, she gave birth to a son whose father is in prison.
Read the full story below!
Sisay Bekele’s Wife Tejitu Urga’s Funeral (Picture: from family)

BY SIYANNE MEKONNEN @SIYAANNE

Addis Abeba, October 19/2020 – The June 29 assassination of popular Oromo artist and activist Haacaaluu Hundessaa marked the return of headlines that made Ethiopia a notoriously recognizable country before two years ago: mass imprisonment and trial of prominent opposition figures, journalists, academicians, activists and ordinary citizens.

Less talked about is the fact that some of these high profile individuals are among the political prisoners who were freed in February 2018, shortly before the abrupt resignation of Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalagn. Others are among the thousands of people who were arrested in Oromia regional state in connection with the unrest that took place in Addis Abeba and parts of Oromia regional state, and in Oromia Regional State Special Zone Surrounding Finfinne in the aftermath of the assassination of artist Haacaaluu.

According to a joint presser given between the federal government and Oromia region attorneys general offices, 488 charges were currently opened in which 5, 728 individuals are facing indictments ranging from terrorism to criminal to illegal possession of firearms. Some of these are cases involving high profile individuals such as Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba et.al, of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Eskinder Nega et.al of Balderas for Genuine Democracy, Lidetu Ayalew of Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), and a group of executive members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLf). As such, most are receiving both local and international media coverage; but an overwhelming majority of the indictments are happening outside of the media’s limelight.

What is not talked about at all is the sufferings of families who are enduring the social, psychological and financial crisis of having their loved ones, often the family breadwinners, locked away.

Addis Standard spoke to the families of some of these prisoners to highlight suffer the uncertainties and inconsistencies that currently pervade legal proceedings.