July 21, 2011

Oromo: Blacklist Released As Ethiopia’s Freedom Crackdown Continues

A political blacklist has been released to censor opposition activities in Ethiopia and the arrests of two senior Oromo opposition figures demonstrate only the latest example of a government-led crackdown on the fundamental freedoms of the Oromo.

Below is an article published by the Jimma Times:

Meles Zenawi has ruled Ethiopia for 20 years. According to local newspaper Sendek, the main opposition party Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (better known as MEDREK) has announced the imprisonment and beating of two of its officials by the Ethiopian government of Meles Zenawi. The officials, Berhanu Emiru and Malese Chala, are executive members of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM). The OFDM is one of the member parties under the Medrek coalition.

Opposition members are regularly detained and sometimes killed under the one-party government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. During last year’s national election that was stolen by the ruling party, hundreds of opposition officials were detained. Several opposition members, including Beyana Deba, were killed. Deba was a regional campaign manager for the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC), which is another member of the Medrek coalition. In 2005, the OPC (previously known as ONC) and OFDM together won the regional election in Oromia before the votes were stolen by the Zenawi ruling party.

This week, a blacklist written by Prime Minister Zenawi given to Voice of America (VOA) radio included nearly the whole Medrek top leadership. Zenawi demanded that the Washington DC based VOA media forbid dozens of Ethiopians from appearing in its radio programs. Some of these Ethiopians banned include the main MEDREK executive officials Dr. Merera Gudina (OPC), Professor Beyene Petros (UEDF), Dr. Negasso Gidada (UDJ), Bekele Gerba (OFDM) and Dr. Hailu Araya (UDJ). In a press statement this week, Medrek accused Meles Zenawi of using its “draconian laws” to criminalize the opposition and restrict freedom of expression.

 

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