Sunday 18 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Ethiopia's government announced Monday it would release hundreds of people awaiting trial including imprisoned opposition leader Merera Gudina and would pardon others convicts in the coming months. The announcement came less than two weeks after the government promised to free jailed "politicians," without giving details on who and how many people would be freed. The release of Merera, chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), has been a key demand of protesters from the country's largest ethnic group, the Oromos. In 2015, the group took to the streets over a proposed expansion of the capital city which they feared would deprive them of their land.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian authorities have dropped charges against a senior opposition leader and hundreds of others who had been jailed for involvement in unrest that gripped the country in 2015 and 2016, the country’s attorney general said on Monday. Hundreds have been killed in violence in the Horn of Africa country since protests first erupted in its central Oromiya province over allegations of land grabs. Several dissident politicians have since been jailed having been charged with involvement in terrorism and collusion with the secessionist Oromo Liberation Front, which the government has branded a terrorist group. Facing mounting unrest, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced earlier this month that jailed politicians would be released and those facing trial would have...
(AFP (eng) 01/13/18)
An Ethiopian court has sentenced prominent dissident Bekele Gerba and three other opposition figures to six months in jail for singing a protest song in court, a defence lawyer told AFP on Friday. The four, all members of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), have been in pre-trial custody since their arrest in late 2015 when a wave of anti-government protests broke out. Bekele, the deputy OFC chairman, and the three other party officials broke into song on Thursday after the judges ruled against his request to summon Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and other high-ranking government officials as defence witnesses, their attorney Ameha Mekonnen said.
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members into the country, and restrict the green card visa lottery in exchange for shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to people briefed...
(AFP (eng) 01/11/18)
Ethiopia's parliament has passed a law banning the adoption of Ethiopian children by foreigners, a government spokesman and diplomats told AFP on Wednesday. The vote follows an April moratorium on foreign adoptions issued by Ethiopia's government which led to the suspension of dozens of cases, including some of parents who had already completed the legal adoption process. A spokesman for Ethiopia's ministry of women, children and youth affairs confirmed the passing of the law on Tuesday without providing further details, but local media reports lauded the move claiming foreign adoptions have "opened a door for different crimes against minors." In 2013 an American couple were jailed for manslaughter for the death of their adoptive Ethiopian daughter two years earlier. Foreign...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Ethiopia's leader promised Wednesday to release "politicians" from jail and shut down a detention centre where human rights groups allege torture is routine. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made the undertaking in comments to reporters in the capital Addis Ababa, although he did not provide details. "In order to improve the national consensus and widen the democratic platform, a decision has been made to acquit politicians of their charges and free them from prison," Hailemariam said, according to the media network Fana Broadcasting Corporate. In the surprise announcement, Hailemariam said jailed politicians would be pardoned while those awaiting trial would have charges against them dropped.
(The Associated Press 01/03/18)
In a surprise move, Ethiopia’s leader on Wednesday announced plans to drop charges against political prisoners and close a notorious prison camp in what he called an effort to “widen the democratic space for all.” This is the first time the government has acknowledged holding political prisoners. Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn’s comments came after anti-government protests engulfed much of the restive Oromia and Amhara regions in recent months, bringing many businesses, universities and transport networks to a standstill. The sometimes deadly protests, the most serious since the current government came to power in 1991, spread into other parts of the East African country, leading to a months-long state of emergency that has since been lifted. “Political prisoners that are facing...
(BBC News Africa 01/03/18)
Ethiopia's prime minister has announced the release of all political prisoners and the closure of a notorious detention centre which allegedly used torture to extract confessions. Hailemariam Desalegn told a press conference charges would also be dropped for those still awaiting trial. The move was designed to allow political dialogue, he said. Ethiopia is accused by human rights groups of using mass arrests and detention to stifle opposition. Are Ethiopian protests a game changer? Ethiopia PM Hailemariam Desalegn 'open to criticism' However, this is the first time the government has admitted to having any political prisoners, previously describing them as "criminals", BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza says. Campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the government of using anti-terrorism...
(AFP (eng) 01/03/18)
Israel on Wednesday began implementing a plan to force tens of thousands of African migrants out of the country by April, threatening to arrest those who stay. "This plan will get under way today," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. Under the programme, some 38,000 migrants who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so. After the deadline, this amount will decrease and those who continue to refuse to go will face arrest. Holot, an open facility in Israel's desert south that can host 1,200 migrants who are allowed to leave to work...
(AFP (eng) 12/28/17)
He may be Ethiopia's biggest pop star but Teddy Afro hasn't held a concert in his country for years, some of his songs have been effectively banned, and the launch party for his last album was broken up by the police. But sitting in the living room of his spacious house outside the capital, Addis Ababa, the 41-year-old musician is relaxed and says he is focused on promoting peace and unity in Ethiopia. "As a child, I remember that we lived as one nation. We knew a nation that is called Ethiopia," Teddy said. "But nowadays, we are identified and called by our ethnic background. And this has already become dangerous." Ethiopia has been rocked by widespread anti-government protests over...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/17)
Egypt's top diplomat is to visit Addis Ababa Tuesday to discuss controversial Ethiopian plans to build a dam on the Nile that Cairo fears will impact its water supplies, his ministry said Monday. Construction of the massive dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia has poisoned relations between the two countries, as Egypt fears its share of water from the Nile will be hit once the project is completed. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry's visit to Addis Ababa is "a new Egyptian move aiming to break the deadlock" in talks with Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Renaissance Dam, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said. The three countries have yet to approve a May report on the social and environmental...
(AFP 12/21/17)
The European Union called Wednesday for an independent probe into clashes between two of Ethiopia's largest ethnic groups, which officials say left at least 61 dead last week alone. There have been a string of recent clashes over the border between the two ethnically demarcated Somali and Oromia federal regions, "causing many casualties and the destruction of properties", said the EU. The cause of the latest violence is not clear but it has raised concerns of growing ethnic divisions in Africa's second most-populous country. In a statement the EU called for "independent investigations (into) all acts of violence."
(Xinhuanet 12/20/17)
Ethiopia's national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) will commence flights to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in June 2018, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday. Speaking to Xinhua, Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of ET, said the latest destination makes business sense with China being an important market for the airlines. Shenzhen, in China's Guangdong Province, is home to internationally known high-tech companies including Huawei and ZTE. Ethiopian Airlines currently has five destinations in China, being Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou. Ethiopian Airlines became the first African carrier and the fourth in the world to fly to China back in 1973.
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
A Dutch-Ethiopian man was sentenced to life in jail on Friday after Dutch judges found him guilty of war crimes committed during Ethiopia's bloody purges in the late 1970s, a period known as the "Red Terror". Eshetu Alemu, 63, was "guilty of war crimes and treated his fellow citizens in a cold and calculating manner... including robbing them of their right to life," presiding judge Mariette Renckens told the court in The Hague. The tribunal "sentences him to life in prison, because this is the only appropriate measure," the judge said. Alemu has been in jail in The Netherlands for the last two years awaiting trial, but neither he nor his lawyers were in court...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/15/17)
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Dutch judges jailed a onetime aide to Ethiopia’s former communist ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam for life on Friday for war crimes carried out during Ethiopia’s “Red Terror” purges of the 1970s, including the execution of 75 prisoners. Eshetu Alemu, 63, was found guilty at his trial in the Hague of ordering the 1978 killing of camp detainees - many of them under 18 years of age - who were taken from their cells and strangled with ropes in a church. In the hearings held under Dutch universal jurisdiction, Alemu, a former Mengistu regional representative, was convicted of all charges brought by prosecutors, including arbitrary detention, inhumane treatment, torture and mass murder. “The fact that the majority...
(Xinhuanet 12/14/17)
Police in Ethiopia's eastern Harari regional state have intercepted about 4,000 Ethiopian migrants in the last two years, a local official said on Wednesday. Speaking to journalists, Tassew Chalew, public relations director at Harari police commission, said the migrants were intercepted on their way to be smuggled to Middle East. Chalew said the police has been able to reduce the number of migrants transiting through the area by arresting several human traffickers. It is estimated that thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked into foreign countries annually. The human trafficking goes through three different routes, with the northern one going through Sudan, Libya and Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. The second route goes east through Somalia, Djibouti and the Red Sea to...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
The United States on Wednesday said it was "troubled and saddened" by clashes in Ethiopia that local reports said has left at least 18 people dead. The violence was reported to be most intense in the eastern town of Chelenko, near the volatile border between the Somali and Oromia regions, home to two of the country's largest ethnic groups. There have been a string of recent clashes over the border between the two ethnically demarcated federal regions. The cause of the latest violence is not clear, nor if they are linked, but they have raised concerns of growing ethnic divisions in Africa's second most-populous country. "We are troubled and saddened by reports of violence that has resulted in deaths and...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
As soon as Ethiopian opposition activist Henok Gabisa read the email, he knew something was not right. With the subject line "Democracy in Ethiopia: Can it be saved?", the message seemed tailor-made for him. Yet the US-based academic, who teaches law at Washington and Lee University, said it was written vaguely and contained a suspicious hyperlink. Indeed, the email was an attempt to infect his computer with spyware that secretly gathers information and similar to hundreds sent to Ethiopian dissidents worldwide that were probably ordered by the country's government, according to a report published last week by the cyber security research group Citizen Lab.

Pages