Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Sensational OPDO and Popular Reactions

(A note inspired by a Facebook post of Yemane Mitiku)

The people in social media and beyond are perplexed about what is going on within EPRDF. Almost all assumptions are made based on the news that reached the public from what is happening behind closed doors. However, it can be reached at a point where we can be sure there is internal struggle which is manifested in a lot of issues that resulted in personal cults of team Lemma Megersa of OPDO and sometimes Gedu Andargachew of ANDM. Herebelow, I put what I have observed from commentators why people appreciate the sensational progress OPDO in standing against widely accepted TPLF's supremacy as well as why they reject it.

Who Rejects Team Lemma and Why?

1. Those cadres who want to protect TPLF's supremacy within EPRDF and the Federal State;

2. Those OPDO cadres who want to submit to TPLF and replace current leaders of OPDO;

3. Those activists who don't know political games apart from their hates to a group and affection to the other;

4. Those people who want to be champions of the other possibility - to say "I told you so" in any case when TPLF wins over OPDO;

5. Those people who honor TPLF/EPRDF more than it deserves to be - these people think every complicated step is a designed conspiracy by TPLF/EPRDF as if it (TPLF) had been using well designed strategies to suppress dissents previously instead of using violence;

6. Those opposition groups and figures who think change can only be possible through their touches and blessings; and,

7. Those people who think the way to change is black and white, as if one way or no way is the solution and as if there is no evolutionary way nor alternative ways exist to make changes.

Who Romanticizes Team Lemma and Why?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

#QilintoFire case victims responded to EHRC report

On 11th of October 2017, the State-run Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written the long awaited report of its investigation of rights violation against Qilinto Fire defendants as per the request of the 19th Bench of Federal High Court at Lideta. On the five pages of report, EHRC revealed scars left after tortures during investigation against 16 defendants among 38 people charged under the same case. The report also revealed flogging marks left on the defendants’ backs, breaking of fingers, scars left after nail-pierced body parts and uprooted finger nails of multiple defendants. Here below I will jot down the torture scars listed in the report and will follow what the defendants have written in response:

  1. Kebede Chemeda – a scar on his right hand; breaking in his right hand thumb
  2. Ibrahim Khamil – a scar on his right leg; a scar on his left hand; scar-marked left from handcuffs
  3. Agbaw Setegn – large scar on his left leg thigh; a scar on his right leg; a sign of nail piercing on his left leg; sign of flogging on his back
  4. Tofik Shikur – a scar on his right hand; uprooting of both thumbs of his legs’ nails; a scar on his left hand
  5. Shemsu Seid – signs that look like remains of flogging at his back
  6. Misbah Kedir – Scar-marks left from handcuffs; a large scar on his right hand; a small scar on his left hand; scars on both of his right and left legs thighs; breaking of his right hand’s pointing finger
  7. Fitsum Getachew – Right hand injury
  8. Temesgen Markos – breaking of his right hand and a scar; large scars on both of his legs
  9. Ashenafi Melese – scars on both of his right and left legs; breaking of his right hand’s ring-finger
  10. Kassa Mohammed – deep scar on his right hand; injury on his head
  11. Sisay Batu – a scar on his right hand
  12. Abduldafar Asrat – uprooting of both of his legs’ thumbs’ nails
  13. Dereje Merga – six scars on his left leg; scar-marks left from handcuffs on both of his legs
  14. Tofik Ferha – a scar on his left hand; scar-marks left from handcuffs
  15. Omar Hassan – uprooting of right leg thumb’s nail; uprooting of nail of next to thumb in his left leg
  16. Seifu Girma – a scar after nail piercing on his left back shoulder; scars on both of his legs

Victims’ Responses

In a five pages of letter smuggled out of prison, the defendants have drafted their opinions on their case, complaints on their current treatment by prison admins and also their response to EHRC’s investigative report. Their response to EHRC’s report is mixed with feelings: they are partly glad EHRC didn’t deny it all as it is a culture in state institutions (at least in perceptions of citizens), on one hand; and, they think it revealed only a small part of what was done against them, on the other hand. Here is what they said:

  1. EHRC didn’t include all human rights violations perpetrated against us
  2. EHRC didn’t request for the accountability of perpetrators of the violations apart from forwarding ‘proposals’ of further investigations in obvious fear of the executive powers
  3. EHRC’s proposal for Addis Ababa Police Commission and Medical Center to further investigate the violations is like giving the violators of our rights an exit from being held accountable
  4. Regardless of all these, we are GRATEFUL to EHRC because it gave us a document that proves our confession to police according to Criminal Code Procedure 27/2 was forced and that it was not genuine confession
Screenshot of from the letters by the victims.
The victims also made calls to all media, human rights organizations, activists, diplomats and every citizen who is concerned about justice to follow their case.