Advocacy for Oromia, Press Release
In March 31st 2010, the Ethiopian Federal High Court bench three has handed down a death sentence to an alleged Oromo political prisoner Mesfin Abebe Abdissa, a life prison sentence to another Oromo nationalist and political prisoner, Tasfahun Camadaa Gurmessaa and given stiff prison terms to 13 others innocent Oromos in the pretext of “plotting to overthrow the government.” A three-judge panel (two are Tigreans and one from southern Ethiopia) passed this death penalty and stiff prison terms in the alleged reason of “conspiracy to wage war on Ethiopia’s government as part of a plan to establish a separate Oromo state.”
However, according to the Advocacy for Oromian viewpoints the verdict was given based on the anti-Oromo racism position. Oromos are Ethiopia’s largest nation, comprising about 40 percent of the country’s population. Racist attitudes towards Oromo became more integral to Abyssinian culture when Oromia was colonized in the late 19th century. The lessening of Oromo identity, especially those with nationalist views, is still inbuilt in ‘Ethiopian’ society.
Therefore, we can say that the ‘Federal High Court’ awful capital punishment is the verdict given based on arbitrary and capricious anti-Oromo attitude on the following Oromo political prisoners:
1. Mr. Mesfin Abebe Death penalty
2. Mr. Tasfahuun Camada Life Imprisonment Sentence
3. Mrs. Abarash Yadata (mother of) four children) 12 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
4. Mrs. Lalisee Wadajo (mother of three kids) 10 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
5. Kol. Olaanii Jabeesa 12 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
6. Mr. Roba Degefa 10 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
7. Mr. Dejene Dhaba 10 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
8. Mr. Bakele Negeri 10 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
9. Mr. Bayisa Hussen 10 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
10. Mr. Hailu Delessa 10 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
11. Mr. Dejene Boranaa 13 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
12. Mr. Bakele Jiraata 13 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
13. Mr. Kabade Borana 12 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
14. Mr. Isheetu Kitil 12 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
15. Mr. Wabee Hajii 12 Year Imprisonment (without parole)
The Advocacy for Oromia strongly opposes the decision given blindly on these innocent political prisoners. The decision has violated the Ethiopian constitution that embellished itself as the safeguard of individuals’ rights and freedoms. The verdict is a deliberate attempt to silence the Oromo people in the country and to deny them impartial, evenhanded and fair treatment by the law.
The Advocacy for Oromia is also strongly condemns the unlawful and injustice court decision passed based on anti-Oromo racism attitude on innocent Oromo political prisoners by the Ethiopian Federal High Court on March 31st 2010. This death penalty and capital punishment clearly violate the constitutional guarantee of the equal protection of the laws in that country. It is applied randomly at best and discriminatorily at worst on Oromo. It is imposed unreasonably upon the defenseless individuals from one nation by the power backed minority court rule of the current Ethiopian system.
Advocacy for Oromia calls on all human rights organizations, governments and individuals to speak out against the inhumane treatment that is being imposed on the Oromo political prisoners by the Meles Zenawi’ regime. We urge all Ethiopians and human rights advocates to contact their local representatives and brief them on the deteriorating condition in the country. Furthermore, we ask that pressure be put on the Ethiopian government to immediately release both political prisoners in the country and find holistic political solutions for the ongoing political problems in the country.