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HRW: Ethiopian Government Abuses Political Opposition Ahead of Elections

A leading human rights group says authorities in Ethiopia's most populous state continue to suppress political dissent and harass leading opposition figures in the run-up to Sunday's general election.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, in a report released Tuesday, says regional authorities and security forces in Oromia have exaggerated concerns about armed insurgency and terrorism to justify the torture and imprisonment of critics.

The report says the patterns of rights abuses that prevail in Oromia call into question the Ethiopian government's professed commitment to human rights.

European Union and U.S. officials have raised concerns with the Ethiopian government about the poll, the first to be monitored by international election observers since Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's party came to power in 1991.