Yonatan Tesfaye, TPLF’s anti-terrorism law latest lamb – dumb move by an unthinking Front!

8 May

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

In my article on the question of Yonatan Tesfaye’s arrest and now charge of terrorism (Amharic) ወጣቱ ፖለቲከኛ ዮናታን ተስፋዬ በአሸባሪው የሕወሃት አስተዳደር የሽብርተኝነት ክስ ተመሰረተበት! ለኢትዮጵያዉያን አሳዛኝና አሳፋሪ ዕለት! የሕወሃት ግፍ መች ይሆን የሚያበቃው?, I tried to show that the TPLF has been suffering from the arrogance of power, when it could not even feed the nation, a fifith of 100 million people suffering from hunger and children from malnutrition.

The world is also shocked by such a move by the regime, employing its anti-terrorism law, whose aim is to silence and cower Ethiopians. Of late, its anti-terrorism law and the behavior of the regime in general both at home and abroad has become repulsive that the world could not keep silent anymore.
 

The TPLF should be ashamed of itself

Friday, Amnesty International asked the TPLF regime to “immediately and unconditionally release a prominent opposition politician facing a possible death sentence on trumped-up terrorism charges over comments he posted on Facebook, said Amnesty International.

The human rights organization observed that Yonatan Tesfaye, the spokesman of the opposition Semayawi (Blue) party, was arbitrarily arrested in December 2015 and held in lengthy pre-trial detention for comments he posted on Facebook. The government says his posts against a government plan to extend the capital’s administrative authority to the Oromia region were in pursuit of the objectives of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which it considers a terrorist organization.

“The Ethiopian authorities have increasingly labelled all opposition to them as terrorism. Yonatan Tesfaye spoke up against a possible land grab in Oromia, which is not a crime and is certainly not terrorism,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“He and many others held under similar circumstances should be immediately and unconditionally released.”

Tesfaye was arbitrarily arrested in December 2015 and held without charge for months on end. It was not until May 4, 2016 that he was charged with “incitement, planning, preparation, conspiracy and attempt” to commit a terrorist act. The state prosecutor charged that Tesfaye’s remarks were in pursuit of the OLF’s objectives.

“Yonatan Tesfaye has no demonstrated links to the OLF. His arrest is just another example of government overreach in the application of its seriously flawed anti-terrorism law. This law is once again being used as a pretext to quash dissent,” said Wanyeki.

The Ethiopian authorities should also promptly, impartially, thoroughly and transparently investigate claims that he may have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention at the Maekelawi Prison, a jail notorious for its widespread use of torture.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post Friday also focussed on Yonatan Tesfaye, wherein quoting Amnesty’s regional chie fMuthoni Wanyeki said “Yonathan spoke against a possible land grab in Oromia, which is not a crime and is certainly not terrorism.”

Similarly, eNCA also noted “Tesfaye was until recently the Blue Party’s spokesman and comes from a generation of young activists determined to challenge the authoritarian regime that has ruled the nation for 25 years.”

It added its voice to the view, “When people become popular and give a voice to the voiceless, (the government) charge them with fabricated charges and put them in jail” Blue Party head Yilkal Getnet told AFP.
 

%d bloggers like this: