News / Africa

Ethiopian Opposition Figure Injured in Prison Cell Attack

TEXT SIZE - +

An Ethiopian politician standing trial for terrorism is said to be injured and in fear for his life after being attacked in his prison cell by a convicted murderer. The leader of the largest opposition party is appealing to Ethiopia's human rights body to intervene in the case.

Former Ethiopian president Negasso Gidada sent an urgent appeal to Human Rights Commission chief Teruneh Zenna Monday asking protection for opposition leaders being held at Addis Ababa's Kaliti prison.

Two senior members of Negasso's Unity for Democracy and Justice, or UDJ party, are among several politicians and journalists being kept at the prison while they face trial on terrorism charges.

Representatives of the Human Rights Commission did not answer phone calls seeking comment.

Negasso said Andualem Aragie, UDJ external relations and publicity chief, suffered possibly severe head injuries last week when he was beaten by a violent criminal placed in a cramped cell with him. After the incident, Negasso said the convict, who is serving a life sentence for murder, was moved to different cell, where he was placed next to another senior UDJ official being tried with Andualem.

Relatives who have seen Andualem say his head injury appears to have affected his ability to maintain his balance. His wife, a medical doctor, is reported to have urged him to seek medical help.

UDJ Deputy Chairman Hailu Araya said Andualem, however, is afraid to request hospitalization because of reports about harsh treatment given to terrorism suspects.

“Considering the danger he's facing and the negative attitude the government has toward those people allegedly accused of terrorism, he's afraid anything could happen in a hospital," said Hailu.

Hailu accused prison authorities of deliberately placing a violent criminal in Andualem's cell. He called the placement a violation of law and Ethiopia's constitution.

"We are in a country where you cannot really depend on the law. You could complain, a complaint was lodged with the prison authorities, they simply dismissed it as a personal quarrel, so all they did was remove him to another place," said Hailu.

Andualem and UDJ executive committee member Natnael Mekonnen were arrested last September along with Internet journalist Eskinder Nega, a fierce critic of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government. The arrests came days after Eskinder was invited to UDJ party headquarters to address a meeting on press freedom.

Before his arrest, Andualem had been considered a rising star in opposition politics, becoming the UDJ's chief spokesman and external relations officer. UDJ is the largest party in Ethiopia's main opposition bloc Medrek.

Government spokesmen at the time strongly denied the arrests had anything to do with the suspects' political activities. A senior official involved in the investigation said those charged were involved in a plot to commit acts of terrorism.

Attorneys say the defendants face a possible death sentence if convicted. Their trial is set to resume March 5.


You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid