Amnesty International Demands Lawyers for Ethiopian Journalists, Opposition Party Members Reportedly Detained; Warns Detainees May Be At Risk of Torture

Press Release
June 30, 2011

Amnesty International Demands Lawyers for Ethiopian Journalists, Opposition Party Members Reportedly Detained; Warns Detainees May Be At Risk of Torture

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(New York) -- In response to media reports that two journalists and two opposition party members have been arrested in Ethiopia on suspicion of terrorist offenses, Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director said today:

"The pretext of counter-terrorism being used to silence dissent, particularly among groups traditionally critical of the government such as political opposition parties and the private press, is worrying."

"The detainees must be granted full and prompt access to legal representatives and their families."

Amnesty International also warned that some of the detainees may be at risk of torture. The four are being held at Maikelawi - the Federal Police Crime Investigation and Forensic Department in Addis Ababa which is reported to be under the command of the National Intelligence and Security Service.

"Maikelawi is infamous for the frequent use of torture against pre-trial detainees," said Kagari.

"It is troubling that the vaguely defined provisions of the Anti-Terrorism legislation are being used to suppress legitimate freedom of expression in Ethiopia."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

 

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