Amsterdam, Washington DC, Minnesota
Top opposition leader Dr. Merera Gudina was arrested on October 30, 2016 upon his return from a trip to Brussels where he spoke to members of the European parliament about the human rights situation in Ethiopia. Since his arrest, Merera has been brought to court twice but only to prolong his incarceration in both cases. The fact that he has not been officially charged yet is a tactic of the government to keep credible opposition members in suspense and continue torturing them.
Currently, Dr. Merera Gudina, is being held in a solitary confinement at the notorious Maekelawi prison, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. According to his lawyer, Wondimu Ibsa, the peaceful professor is handcuffed, held in a dark room with no window – 24 hours a day.
The arbitrary arrest and solitary confinement of Dr. Merera Gudina is just the tip of a rather large iceberg. Thousands are languishing in awful prison conditions, many have been assassinated in broad day light and still more are declared “disappeared” since the EPRDF seized power. At least 1000 people have been killed since the popular uprising began in November last year.
After the declaration of the “State of Emergency” on October 9, 2016, tens of thousands of individuals have been arbitrarily arrested, some have even vanished without traces. Among them are Journalists, bloggers, human rights activists, leaders and members of opposition parties. Though the ruling party released 10,000 from concentration camps 50,000 thousand are still languishing in different camps. What makes the matter worse is they arrested 12,500 same weak they released the ten thousand. We are deeply concerned by the wide-ranging human right abuse undergoing throughout the country.
We, members of Free Merera taskforce, demand a prompt and unconditional release of Dr. Merera Gudina and all political prisoners, journalists, bloggers and human rights advocates in Ethiopia. We also call on the international community, the United Nations, The European Union, the United States and all human rights organizations to put pressure on the regime in Ethiopia to respect basic human rights and democratic rights of the citizens of the country.
About the task force
We are group of individuals worldwide. We are compatriots and friends of Dr. Merera Gudina, joined from civic and political organization. We are advocating for freedom of Dr. Merera and all political prisoners.