December 10, 2017
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
Today, 10 December, as we celebrate international Human Rights Day, we remember all prisoners that are victims of grave human rights violations in Ethiopia. On this day, AHRE is sharing a very striking personal story of a family that has fallen victim of the Ethiopia’s government’s repression. The story is symbolic in that it signifies the broader, much bigger fracture in Ethiopia’s political climate. It also at the same time signifies in crude sense, how a family is sadly impacted by the misuse and abuse of power of Ethiopian authorities, and more specifically by the infamous Anti-Terrorism Law.
Three siblings in one family are facing terrorism charges.
Abebe Asfaw, 73 is a fisherman who lives with his wife. four children in Arba Minch, city of Southern Ethiopia, 435 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. He and his family have been under prolonged monitoring by security agents; they have been pressured to join EPRDF and promised rewards in return- an offer they declined. The decision has cost the family a great deal.
Befekadu Abebe, the eldest son of Abebe and his wife Almaz Kassahun, is a fisherman like his father, and a leader of Arbaminch’s branch of Semayawi Party- a legally registered opposition political party. His connection to the opposition party was another factor accounting to the government’s prying eyes into the family.
Abebe’s second child Engida and his friends used to run a small business of making and selling concrete blocks, using the Kebele’s (the smallest government administrative unit) machine. And when Keblele officials could not convince Abebe and his friends to join EPRDF, they confiscated the machine and gave it to a youth group who supported EPRDF. Engida, now unempolyed and hopeless, ran away from home. His family later heard the news that he went to Eritrea to join Ginbot 7, a listed terrorist organization by Ethiopian government. Abebe’s family saw the news of their son’s tragic death from documentary broadcasted on national TV on May 6, 2016; he was killed during an armed fight with Ethiopia’s forces in Arbaminch. [Read more…]