Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 101

September 2011 Dr T.

Trueman








Abuse in Ethiopia and asylum in the
UK: Oromo experience

















60 Westminster Rd
Malvern, WR14 4ES, UK
+ 44 (0)1684 573722
ttrueman@tiscali.co.uk
ii





























Commonly used abbreviations

AEUP All Ethiopia Unity Party, legal opposition
CUD(P) Coalition for Unity and Democracy (Party), legal opposition
EPRDF Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, the governing
coalition party, led and dominated by the TPLF
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
IRIN Integrated Regional Information Network, UN news agency
Maikelawi CID Central Investigation Department, Maikelawi, Addis Ababa
MTA Macha-Tulama Association
OLF Oromo Liberation Front
OFDM Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement, legal opposition
ONC Oromo National Congress, opposition political party, in UEDF
ONLF Ogaden National Liberation Front
OPC Oromo Peoples Congress, legal opposition, evolved from ONC after
2005, when ONC name taken by government-sponsored party
OPDO Oromo Peoples Democratic Organisation, EPRDF Oromo party
ORA Oromo Relief Association
SNNPR Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region
TPLF Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front
UDJ Unity for Democracy and Justice, legal opposition
UEDF United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, opposition coalition party
iii

Abuse in Ethiopia and asylum in the UK: Oromo experience
September 2011 Dr T. Trueman

Abbreviations . . . . . . . ii
Preface . . . . . . . . v
Background . . . . . . . . 1
Up to 1992 . . . . . . . 1
OLF . . . . . . . . 3
EPRDF . . . . . . . 4
Elections and democracy in Ethiopia . . . . 7
1995 and 2000 . . . . . . 7
2005 . . . . . . . . 7
2008 . . . . . . . . 9
2010 . . . . . . . . 10
Human rights in Ethiopia . . . . . . 11
Abuses targeting ethnic groups . . . . 12
Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity . . 14
Persecution of Oromo per se . . . . . 15
Prevalence of human rights abuses . . . . 16
Arbitrary detention . . . . . . . 17
Number detained, official and unofficial detention . . 17
Detention without charge or trial . . . . 19
Treatment of prisoners . . . . . 20
Beating of detainees . . . . . . 23
Continuing persecution and repeated episodes of detention . 23
Detention of family members . . . . . 24
Arbitrariness of detention, low level involvement with OLF 25
Conditions to release . . . . . . 26
Corruption, escape, bribery and assistance . . . 27
Torture . . . . . . . . 29
Rape . . . . . . . . . 33
Killings . . . . . . . . 35
Disappearances . . . . . . . 38
Judicial process and rule of law . . . . . 39
iv

Civil society . . . . . . . . 42
Media . . . . . . . . 46
Demonstrations, freedom of assembly . . . . 48
Control and monitoring . . . . . . 51
Party membership and local councils . . . . 51
Monitoring the population . . . . . 52
Monitoring at schools and universities . . . 55
Centralised records . . . . . . 56
Monitoring communications . . . . . 56
Ensuring compliance . . . . . . 57
Coercion at schools and universities . . . . 60
Coercion elsewhere in the civil service and business sector . 62
Political parties . . . . . . . 62
Persecution of legal opposition . . . . 62
Canvassing, party offices and meetings . . . 66
Purging the government Oromo party . . . 67
Accusations of OLF involvement and terrorism . . . 67
Indiscriminate charges of OLF support . . . 67
Civil society and terrorism charges . . . . 70
Terrorism legislation . . . . . . 71
Acts of terrorism: bombings and landmines . . . 72
Immigration authority claims of terrorism . . . 73
Outside Ethiopia . . . . . . . 75
Leaving Ethiopia . . . . . . 75
Cultural differences and difficulties in case presentation . 76
Use of the Oromo language . . . . . 78
Political activity in the diaspora . . . . 79
Union of Oromo Students in Europe . . . . 81
Fate of returnees to Ethiopia . . . . . 82
UK case law . . . . . . . 84
Declaration . . . . . . . . 85
References . . . . . . . . 87
Appendix. Curriculum Vitae . . . . . i

v

Preface

I have written this report to facilitate informed decision-making on asylum claims made by
Oromo and other people from Ethiopia. It is freely available.

This is the latest in a series of reports which have accompanied expert witness statements.
The reports are used for ease of reference and to avoid unnecessary repetition in witness
statements. At the time of writing (June 2011), I have written expert witness statements
concerning more than 360 asylum applications of people from Ethiopia and Eritrea. Since
2000, I have prepared detailed statements on 264 asylum applicants. Of these, 197 were
Oromo from Ethiopia, 154 of whom applied for asylum in the UK.

This report relies on publicly available information and on information which has been given
to me in my capacity as Chair of the Oromia Support Group. Sources of information are
referenced. I am able to provide e-mails, letters, publications and notes of interviews and
conversations to substantiate the information which has been given to me personally and
which is not in the public domain.

I have been concerned with the political and human rights situation in Ethiopia since 1988
and have been Chair of the Oromia Support Group since 1994. My experience in collating,
presenting, publishing and discussing information on the human rights situation in Ethiopia
with politicians, academics and non-governmental organisations since 1994 is summarised in
my Curriculum Vitae, which is attached as an appendix to this report.










vi


1

Background

Up to 1992

1.i. The Oromo are the largest and most centrally located nationality in Ethiopia,
1
being
over 30 million, 40%
2
of Ethiopias population of 82-85 million.
3

1.ii. According to Human Rights Watch Oromo nationalism has evolved in response to
the Oromo peoples long, difficult and often antagonistic relationship with the Ethiopian
state. Much of what is now Oromia was conquered and forcibly incorporated into the
Amhara-dominated Ethiopian empire . . .
4

1.iii. Professor Clapham, Oxford University, wrote that politicians believed that Ethiopias
problems centrally derived from a history of economic exploitation that was most clearly
expressed in the alienation of land in large areas of Ethiopia by the members of a feudal
class, which had profited from its role in the conquest of much of the countrys current
territory during the second half of the nineteenth century.
5

1.iv. During the old imperialist era, the Oromo people were subjected to widespread
repression. The rulers in Addis Ababa adopted a policy of forced cultural assimilation and
they took steps to suppress Oromo culture, including restricting the use and development of
Afan Oromo [the Oromo language]. . . .
1.v. Haile Selassie, the last Ethiopian emperor, was overthrown by the military in
1974. But the Derg, the committee of military officers who seized control of the country,
quickly evolved into an extremely brutal dictatorship that continued the oppression of the
Oromo.
6

1.vi. In 1991, after a long civil war, the Derg collapsed. The political vacuum that was
created by the Dergs collapse was immediately filled by the TPLF

7
- controlled Ethiopian
Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition, which has remained in power
through the present day. The TPLF, led by Meles Zenawi, Ethiopias current prime minister,

1
Clapham, Christopher (2009) Post-war Ethiopia: The Trajectories of Crisis. Review of African Political
Economy, 36:120, 181-192. p.188.
2
US State Department (2011) 2010 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 8 April 2011. Section 6.
3
Estimated at 82 million by US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Introduction; and 85 million in Amnesty
International Report 2011. The State of the Worlds Human Rights: Ethiopia. London. 18 May 2011.
Introduction.
4
Human Rights Watch (2005) Suppressing Dissent: Human Rights Abuses and Political Repression in
Ethiopias Oromia region. New York. 10 May 2005. pp.7-11.
5
Clapham 2009. Op. cit.p.182.
6
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit.pp.7-11.
7
Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front
2

gained control in Addis Ababa despite its humble origins as a narrowly based, ethnic guerrilla
movement with little support outside of the northern highlands. . . .
1.vii. In Oromia, the TPLFs regional ally is the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization
(OPDO), which was created in 1990, as the Derg began to collapse. The OPDO was created
outside of Oromia without any grassroots political participation. Thus it started with very
little support in Oromia . . .
8

1.viii. According to Professor Clapham The peoples democratic organizations or PDOs,
established as the TPLFs alliance partners within the EPRDF, have proved to be no more
than a shallow faade, dependent entirely on government patronage, and possessing no
indigenous political base.
9
On the other hand, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) had its
origins in a protracted armed struggle in Oromia against the Haile Selassie government in the
1960s.
10

1.ix. The OLF, as such, began with meetings of concerned individuals in December 1973
and October 1974 in Addis Ababa. The draft of its political program was written in October
1974 but it did not become militarily operational until 1976, after its founding congress in
June of that year.
11
According to the OLF website, quoted in the 2008 Home Office Country
of Origin Information report,
12
the OLF was established in 1973.
1.x. Thus, long before the OPDO was created in Tigray, the OLF had established itself as
the leading voice of Oromo nationalism. [By 1991] it enjoyed widespread popular support . . .
and its leaders had longstanding ties to Oromo civil society. . . In 1991, the OLF joined the
TPLF-led transitional government . . . National elections were scheduled for June 1992 . . .
The run-up to election day was marred by widespread violence and harassment.
13

1.xi. The OLF withdrew from the elections when its candidates and supporters were
intimidated, attacked and detained; activists were killed and party offices closed.
14

1.xii. OLF troops, encamped away from urban areas, as agreed with US mediators, were

8
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.7-11.
9
Clapham 2009. Op. cit. p.185.
10
Human Rights Watch 2005 Op. cit. pp.7-11.
11
Personal conversations with Dima Nogo, the first General Secretary of the OLF, 1989 et seq. and Dawud Ibsa,
the current General Secretary, London. 26 March 2005.
12
Home Office Country of Origin Information Report: Ethiopia. 18 January 2008. Paragraph 6.55.
13
Human Rights Watch 2005 Op. cit. pp.7-11.
14
Human Rights Watch (1997) Ethiopia: The Curtailment of Rights. New York. December 1997. Summary;
Pausewang, Siegfried (2009) The Oromo between past and future: Introduction. in Exploring New Political
Alternatives for the Oromo in Ethiopia Pausewang, Siegfried (ed.) Chr. Michelsen Institute, R2009:6, Bergen,
Norway. pp.5-6; Human Rights Watch (2010a) One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure. New York. 24 March
2010. p.11.
3

attacked by EPRDF forces and virtually destroyed as a fighting force.
15
Its four ministers and
other parliamentary representatives were told personally by then President Meles Zenawi to
leave the country as their safety could not be guaranteed.
16
During the next 18 months,
following their exposure during the year of transition, OLF supporters, members and officials
were among tens of thousands detained. According to Amnesty International and Africa
Confidential,
17
20,000 Oromo were imprisoned but, in communications to the Oromia
Support Group, clandestine Ethiopian human rights groups estimated that 45,000 were
detained.

OLF

2.i. Despite its defeat on the ground and long absence from the political scene, the OLF
has retained its status as the most potent symbol of Oromo nationalism and continues in many
ways to be the central focus of political discourse in Oromia. The OLF continues its armed
struggle but few - if any - observers regard it as a serious military threat to the Ethiopian
government.
18

2.ii. According to my many contacts within the leadership and the rank and file of the
OLF, corroborated by regional security expert Gnter Schrder,
19
the OLF maintains a
clandestine presence in Ethiopia with members, supporters and informers present throughout
Ethiopian society, including the civil service, armed forces and security system. Its members
are organised in small cells which meet regularly, usually once each month, either in homes

15
The Advocates for Human Rights (2009) Human Rights in Ethiopia: Through the Eyes of the Oromo
Diaspora. Minneapolis, December 2009. p.1; Personal conversation with Ted Dagne, Foreign Affairs Analyst,
Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 26 July 2004.
16
Personal conversations in 1992 et seq. with Leenco Lata, Deputy General Secretary of the OLF, and Dima
Nogo, Minister of Information in the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, 1991-1992.
17
Amnesty International (1995) Ethiopia: Accountability, past and present, human rights in transition.
London. April 1995; Africa Confidential (1996) 37:1. London. 5 January 1996. p.3.
18
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.7-11.
19
Gnter Schrder is a historian and social anthropologist who has had personal contacts with leaders and
members of the major political groups in Ethiopia since 1975 and has visited Ethiopia and Eritrea for prolonged
periods since 1983. He was involved with attempts to mediate between the OLF and TPLF/EPRDF between
1995 and 1998 and was stationed in Ethiopia from 1993 to 2000. He was part of the German Foreign Office
Election Observation Team in Ethiopia in 1992 and has particularly studied the armed forces and security
system in Ethiopia. He has written extensively about Ethiopia, including many confidential background reports
for German and international NGOs and the German Foreign Ministry. He writes of his considerable personal
knowledge of and experience with the activities of the Ethiopian government and its security organs against
OLF suspects in this period [1993-2000] and in general of the operational methods of the security services and
on the state of the rule of law in that country. I have met him on several occasions, most recently at an
international seminar, organised by the OLF in Frankfurt, in May 2008. He has given me permission to quote
from an expert witness report which he prepared on 25 September 2007 for solicitor Elizabeth Millar regarding
the asylum application of a member of the Ethiopian armed forces who was a clandestine member of the OLF.
4

of its members or, less commonly, in public spaces. Vertical lines of communication and
responsibility within the OLF hierarchy are restricted to single individuals within each cell.
2.iii. My contacts estimate there are at least 100,000 OLF members in Ethiopia and up to
200 in the UK. Members are sworn to substantial commitment, involving hardship and the
pre-eminence of the organisation over personal gain and prospects, and are admitted only
after being endorsed by long-standing members and after due ceremony. Unlike supporters,
members are canvassed for their views and opinions on political strategy which are passed up
the hierarchy. The military wing of the OLF is small and consists of fewer than 10,000
fighters, who are based in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
2.iv. According to several hundred Oromo acquaintances, academics
20
and other contacts
who are in touch with Oromo society inside and outside Ethiopia, the majority of Oromo
people give at least moral and aspirational support to the OLF.

EPRDF

3.i. The EPRDFs main political strategy has been that of ethnic federalism as a means of
amassing control. This policy has provided a veneer of autonomy to Ethiopias ethnic groups
while eroding those groups political power and potential for challenging the EPRDF . . .
21

The technical framework of democracy is a deceptive and hollow faade.
22

3.ii. Siegfried Pausewang, Senior Fellow at the Christian Michelsen Institute in Bergen,
wrote in 2009 that although the OLF was not a serious threat militarily, it has been
significant in keeping a feeling of OLF presence awake in the Oromo peasantry. And it has
had considerable effect in giving Oromo peasants the feeling that OLF continues to be the
only organisation defending their rights. On the other hand, OLF fighters attacking security
forces here or there have given [the] OPDO a welcome pretext for strong vigilance, for
watching the peasant population and clamping down on any form of opposition or protest,
under the pretext of fighting OLF insurgents. It gives the security forces a justification for
keeping the local population in a constant fear of retaliation. They punish any kind of support
for other parties except [the] OPDO.
23


20
Clapham 2009. Op. cit. p.188; Pausewang 2009. Op. cit. pp.5-6.
21
The Advocates for Human Rights 2009. Op. cit. p.2.
22
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.2.
23
Pausewang 2009. Op. cit. pp.5-6.
5

3.iii. The Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray remained the ideological core of the TPLF, at
least until 2001.
24
According to Oxford academic, Professor Clapham It soon became clear
that regional autonomy was, just as in the Stalinist model that the EPRDF adopted,
subordinated to a monolithic party-state. The EPRDF proved entirely incapable of
recognising the legitimacy of any regional or ethnic movement that was not under its own
control, or of according such movement an autonomous role in the government even of the
most insignificant local arena. . . . [T]he EPRDF was never at heart a federal regime at all.
25

3.iv. The quarterly EPRDF official party journal, at the beginning of 1997, labeled Oromo
intellectual, business, cultural and political elites as narrow nationalists and enemies of
revolutionary democracy. Unless they were eliminated and crushed, they would prevent
democracy and development in Ethiopia.
26

3.v. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2010 Since the 2005 elections, the EPRDF has
pursued a vigorous strategy of shutting down opposition parties, purging dissent from within
its own ranks, and using all means at its disposal to recruit the population into the party. This
has led to the systematic politicization of much of the civil service, most government
services, and large areas of Ethiopian civic life, so that fewer and fewer economic activities,
community meetings, or civic associations occur outside the purview of the EPRDF.
27

3.vi. Ethiopia is applauded by donors for its progress toward meeting some of the
Millennium Development Goals but critics of the government claim that the apparent
development and impressive building projects in the capital are a faade and point to the
widening poverty gap and growing food insecurity. In 2009, the UN noted that Ethiopia
remained one of the poorest countries in the world with widespread and deep income
poverty; half of its population was affected by hunger and food insecurity; 6-13 million
people were at risk of starvation each year, and there was deteriorating food security in Afar,
Oromia and Somali Regions.
28

3.vii. Professor Abbink, head of a research group at the African Studies Centre in Leiden,
noted in 2009 that indicators of democracy - a representative, electable government,

24
Abbink, Jon (2009) The Ethiopian Second Republic and the Fragile Social Contract. Africa Spectrum, 44:
2, 3-28. p.10.
25
Clapham 2009. Op. cit. p.187.
26
Hassen, Mohammed (2009) Oromo nationalism, and the continuous multi-faceted attack on the Oromo
cultural, civic and political organizations. in Exploring New Political Alternatives for the Oromo in Ethiopia.
Op. cit. pp.26-39. On pp.37-38, he quotes Hizbaawi Adera - The Peoples Trust - 4:7, December 1996-February
1997, as translated by Professor Tilahun Gamta.
27
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.22.
28
UN Human Rights Council (2009) Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Sixth session, Geneva,
30 November-11 December 2009. Ethiopia. A/HRC/WG.6/6/ETH/2. 18 September 2009. Paragraphs 47-49.
6

competitive party system, independent judiciary, free press, rule of law, respect for human
rights and habeas corpus - are quite critical in Ethiopia. The country does not succeed in
providing food security for its own people and has worrying indications of state failure -
persistent armed conflict and insecurity, lack of basic services for all, grinding poverty, non-
sustainable population growth, communal tensions [and] growing corruption. Prospects for
democracy are poor. [E]ngrained tendencies of top-down elite rule . . . have reshaped the
political arena . . ., inhibiting political equity, governance reform and the recovery of a civic-
republican programme.
29
In September 2008, the federal parliament passed a bill enabling
the executive, the Council of Ministers, to claim unlimited legislative powers to reorganise
the federal executive organs without the parliament exerting supervision or approval.
30

3.viii. Deputy chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, MP Belete Etana, wrote in
October 2009 of Ethiopias lack of democracy, rule of law, respect for human and civil
rights and the judicial system being totally under the total control of the TPLF.
31
From his
committees examination of government finances, he concluded that billions of Birr were lost
to corrupt government officials and that privatisation of national industries and public funds
were used to support state and party owned businesses. The US State Department noted from
his report illegal procurement, unlawful payments and unaccounted spending amounting to
more than 2.5 billion Birr ($152 million).
32
Professor Abbink writes A new, tremendously
wealthy, party-associated elite has meanwhile arisen in the wake of this appropriation of the
national economy.
33

3.ix. Regional expert Gnter Schrder wrote in 2007 that the EPRDF is not fighting the
OLF because of its refusal to renounce the armed struggle, but because of the size of the
Oromo population and Oromia Region, and the richness of Oromo resources.
34

3.x. Norwegian academics were told by a TPLF cadre in 2008 We have stopped
pretending democracy anymore; this is a struggle for our survival.
35


29
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. pp.5-8.
30
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.16. The bill was Definition of Powers and Duties of the Executive Organs of the
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Proclamation
31
Etana, Belete (2009) Press Release published by Ethiopian opposition website, Ethiopian Media Forum, 31
October 2009. I interviewed him on 22 October 2009 and received this information separately by e-mail on 24
October 2009.
32
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 4.
33
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.12.
34
See footnote 19 on p.3 for information on Gnter Schrder. His corroboration of the reasons for the Ethiopian
regime cracking down so hard on Oromo is in paragraph 147 of his expert witness statement, 25 September
2007.
35
Aalen, Lovise and Tronvoll, Kjetil (2009a) Briefing: The 2008 Ethiopian local elections: The return of
electoral authoritarianism. African Affairs, 108: 430, 111-120. p.120.
7

Elections and democracy in Ethiopia

1995 and 2000

4.i. National elections for seats in the Federal House of Peoples Representatives and in
regional parliaments took place in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. Local (woreda and kebele
council) elections were postponed, due to the violent aftermath of the 2005 general election,
until April 2008.
4.ii. The EPRDF won a landslide victory in 1995, when most opposition parties boycotted
the election, criticizing an unlevel playing field. In 2000, there was little meaningful multi-
party competition. Some opposition candidates were killed. There was widespread violence,
detention, harassment and intimidation of the opposition but 25-50% of districts were
contested and 29 of the 547 federal seats went to opposition parties.
36


2005

5.i. Overconfident and intent on enhancing its international reputation, the EPRDF
opened up political space before the May 2005 election. Without precedent in Ethiopias
history, [d]espite continuing repression of opposition activity in many areas, opposition
parties were able to campaign, access national government-controlled media, and hold rallies
in a number of key geographic areas of the country. Voters across many parts of Ethiopia
experienced a real choice at the polls for the first time.
37
An unusual number of international
observers were present and their initial reports were that the election was the most free and
fair so far, although there was intimidation and use of force at voting booths, stuffing and
disappearance of ballot boxes and in some areas ballots exceeded the number of registered
voters.
38

5.ii. The US State Department noted observers reported vote count fraud, improper
handling of ballot boxes, and barring of party agents from polling stations and ballot counts.
Observers also reported killings, disappearances, voter intimidation and harassment, unlawful
detentions of opposition party supporters, and bribery.
39


36
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.13-16; Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.11.
37
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.12.
38
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.13-16.
39
US State Department (2010) 2009 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 11 March 2010. Section 3.
8

5.iii. Despite these drawbacks, [t]he opposition won an unprecedented one third of
parliamentary seats, 172, and control of Addis Ababa.
40
However, there was limited success
for Oromo opposition parties because legally registered Oromo parties, especially ONC
[Oromo National Congress] and OFDM [Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement], were
harassed and persecuted on [the] local level, just as OLF members, for trying to compete
against [the] OPDO.
41

5.iv. Protests followed claims of electoral malpractice and delays in announcing the results.
On June 8, the demonstrations widened and turned bloody. Prime Minister Meles took
personal control of the security forces, who killed at least 36 people and detained several
thousand in the capital and other cities in the following days as protests intensified,
sometimes aggravated by rock-throwing and looting by protestors. Opposition leaders and
supporters were targeted for harassment, intimidation, and house arrest.
42

5.v. The announcement of the EPRDF victory was delayed until September, after a highly
dubious
43
and controversial complaints process of re-counting and re-elections in certain
constituencies that was strongly criticized by the European Union observer mission.
44

5.vi. The post-election period was marred by controversy and bloodshed. At least 200
people were killed in June and November 2005, the vast majority by security forces during
protests over alleged election fraud.
45

5.vii. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi accused the Coalition for Unity and Democracy of
attempting a violent overthrow of his government. After dropping initial charges of treason
and genocide, the government charged 131 opposition leaders, journalists and civil society
leaders with capital offences including outrages against the constitution.
46
Amnesty
International reported that at least 76 of the detainees were prisoners of conscience, elected
opposition leaders, human rights defenders and independent journalists.
47
Nearly all were
released in mid-2007 after admitting inciting violence and requesting a pardon.
48

5.viii. The 2005 election results came as a rude awakening for the EPRDF, who had not
expected that the liberalization would entail any real challenge to its position, but had

40
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.14.
41
Pausewang 2009. Op. cit. p.6.
42
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.14.
43
Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. p.112.
44
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.14.
45
Ibid. p.1.
46
Ibid. p.16; The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.13-16.
47
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/013/2006. London. 2 May 2006.
48
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.13-16.
9

calculated that instead it could keep control in its hands at the same time as profiting from an
enhanced democratic image. The party took strong measures to ensure a weak performance
would not recur. It increased its party members from 760,000 in 2005 to 4 million by 2008
49

and 5 million by 2010,
50
more than 1 in 20 of the entire population.

2008

6.i. In time for the 2008 woreda and kebele council elections, there was a huge increase in
seats, from about 15 up to 100 in a rural kebele and 300 in an urban kebele. A kebele (peasant
association) includes 1-3,000 inhabitants.
51
The opposition was unable to contest more than a
fraction of the 3.5 million kebele and over 56,000 woreda seats.
52

6.ii. Human Rights Watch pointed out Officials also had a new and potent tool to threaten
and intimidate: with the polling data from 2005, they knew which communities had voted
against the ruling party in 2005.
53

6.iii. Before the 2008 elections, the Africa Director at Human Rights Watch said The same
local officials who are directly responsible for much of the day-to-day political repression
that occurs in Ethiopia have their jobs at stake in these elections. As such, their efforts to
intimidate ordinary people into returning them to office are especially intense.
54

6.iv. The run-up to these elections illustrates how meaningless the process of voting can
be in an environment of intimidation and fear. Local ruling party officials have
systematically targeted opposition candidates for violence, intimidation, and other human
rights abuses since the registration period began three months ago.
55

6.v. Due to widespread harassment, intimidation, arrests and killings of opposition party
candidates and supporters, delayed opening and forced closure of party offices, closure of
voter and candidate registration centres, prevention of candidates visiting their constituencies,
and electoral procedural manipulation (election observers belonging to government party,
renaming of opposition parties, fraudulent removal of opposition candidates from lists),
56
the

49
Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. p.112.
50
Tronvoll, Kjetil (2011) Briefing: The Ethiopian 2010 federal and regional elections: Re-establishing the one-
party state. African Affairs, 110:438, 121-136. p.132.
51
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 3; Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. p.116.
52
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.19; US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 3.
53
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.18.
54
Human Rights Watch (2008a) Ethiopia: Repression sets stage for non-competitive elections. Press Release.
New York. 10 April 2008.
55
Ibid.
56
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 3; Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. pp.113-114.
10

main opposition parties withdrew: the rump of the opposition and independent candidates
won only four kebele and eight woreda seats nationwide, less than 0.1% of those available.
57

The limited opening of political space that preceded Ethiopias 2005 elections has been
entirely reversed wrote Human Rights Watch.
58

6.vi. Former Brookings Institution expert, Professor Terrence Lyons, wrote The outcome
of local and by-elections in April 2008 suggests that the EPRDF plans to increase its level
and extent of control over the population and restrict political and civil liberties. The
opposition only managed to register some 16,000 candidates for the nearly 4 million posts up
for election. The EPRDF won 137 of 138 council seats in Addis Ababa, despite the
opposition sweep in 2005, and in many areas ran unopposed. Even those parties such as the
UEDF [United Ethiopian Democratic Forces] and Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement
that participate in the national parliament found it impossible to identify candidates or to
campaign, particularly in the Oromo region.
59


2010

7.i. Before the 2010 election, there were violent assaults and the killing of an opposition
candidate in Tigray Region, but [m]ore often voters were influenced by harassment, threats
and coercion.
60

7.ii. Legal restrictions, the expansion of the EPRDF and local councils, intimidation and
harassment of opposition candidates and voters, and vote rigging ensured that the elections
fell short of international standards.
61
The polls were peaceful, but were preceded by months
of intimidation of opposition party supporters and an extensive government campaign aimed
at increasing support for the ruling party, including by reserving access to government
services and resources to ruling party members.
62

7.iii. The result was total closure of plural democratic representation in the country. The
facts speak for themselves . . . In the 2010 election for regional councils, EPRDF and its
affiliates won 1,903 seats, while the opposition got one. In the . . . election for the House of
Representatives, EPRDF and its affiliates won 545 seats, while the opposition got one. There

57
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.19; Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. pp.113-114; Lyons, Terrence
(2008) Ethiopias domestic and regional challenges. Ethiopian Review. 3 September 2008.
58
Human Rights Watch World Report 2009. Ethiopia, Political Repression.
59
Lyons 2008. Op. cit.
60
Human Rights Watch World Report 2011 (2011a). Ethiopia, The 2010 Elections. January 2011.
61
Tronvoll 2011. Op. cit. pp.132-136; Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. The 2010 Elections.
62
Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. Introduction.
11

is no other conclusion to be drawn from Ethiopias electoral development than to consider it
as the re-establishment of the country as a one-party state.
63


Human rights in Ethiopia

8.i. The human rights record of the Ethiopian government has been criticised by many
academics, politicians, government and regional bodies such as the US State Department and
European Parliament, and non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International,
Human Rights Watch, Survival International, the International Commission of Jurists, and the
Committee to Protect Journalists. A small selection of available material follows.
8.ii. The Africa Director of Human Rights Watch in 2008 wrote that systemic human
rights abuses had become part of the foundation of the EPRDFs hold on power.
64

8.iii. The most recent US State Department Country Report on human rights in Ethiopia,
dated 8 April 2011and covering 2010, is no more critical than any of the previous ten or more
annual reports. It states Human rights abuses reported during the year included unlawful
killings, torture, beating, and abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters
by security forces, especially special police and local militias, which took aggressive or
violent action with evident impunity in numerous instances; poor prison conditions; arbitrary
arrest and detention, particularly of suspected sympathizers or members of opposition or
insurgent groups; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; infringement on
citizens' privacy rights, including illegal searches; use of excessive force by security services
in counterinsurgency operations; restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press; arrest,
detention, and harassment of journalists; restrictions on freedom of assembly and association;
restrictions on freedom of movement; ruling party intimidation, threats, and violence during
the elections; police, administrative, and judicial corruption; harassment of those who worked
for human rights organizations . . .
65

8.iv. The UN Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
reported in 2009 police brutality, torture, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, unfair
trials which attested to a concerning human rights situation
66
and a cycle of impunity for
serious human rights violations.
67


63
Tronvoll 2011. Op. cit. pp.135-136.
64
Human Rights Watch 2008a. Op. cit.
65
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Introduction.
66
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraph 24.
67
Ibid. Paragraph 35.
12

8.v. The Advocates for Human Rights, in Minnesota, published a report in 2009, based on
interviews with refugees, which describes decades of human rights violations against the
Oromo of Ethiopia, including violations of the most basic civil and political rights - arbitrary
arrest, incommunicado detention, torture, and extra-judicial executions. Reports of
widespread surveillance and interference with rights of freedom of association, assembly,
expression, conscience, and the press were pervasive.
68

8.vi. Human Rights Watch wrote in April 2010 Expressing dissent is very dangerous in
Ethiopia. The ruling party and the state are becoming one, and the government is using the
full weight of its power to eliminate opposition and intimidate people into silence.
69

8.vii. Defecting MP, Belete Etana, wrote in 2009, [The] EPRDF/TPLF regime is simply a
dictatorship. It does not respect its own constitution. It kill[s], detains, torture[s] and arbitrary
arrest[s] innocent civilians without any crime being committed.
70
Netherlands Professor Jon
Abbink also wrote in 2009: The EPRDF is fixated on control; of political space, economic
space, the judiciary, and civic space.
71

8.viii. Defecting President of the Oromia Supreme Court, Teshale Aberra, told the Guardian
in November 2006 The Ethiopian government is responsible for the killing of tens of
thousands of students and other critics over the past 15 years . . . the government of Meles
Zenawi is as bad or worse than that of his predecessor, Mengistu Haile Mariam, which was
widely condemned for human rights abuses.
72


Abuses targeting ethnic groups

9.i. In many reports, specific reference is made to the especially severe abuses committed
against Oromo, Anuak and Ogadeni people,
73
on the pretext of their involvement with
insurgency movements.
9.ii. Amnesty International wrote in 2002 Hundreds of people were arrested for political
reasons. Most were detained without charge or trial . . . They included prisoners of

68
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. Preface. p.ii. The Advocates for Human Rights, based in Minneapolis and
formerly known as Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, is a law and civil rights organisation which has
written reports on human rights practices in over 25 countries. This report is based on first hand eye-witness
accounts from Oromo refugees in Minnesota, the largest concentration of Oromo in the diaspora.
69
Human Rights Watch (2010b) Ethiopia: Repression Rising Ahead of May Elections. New York. 24 March
2010.
70
Etana 2009. Op. cit.
71
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. pp.22-23.
72
Guardian newspaper. Ethiopian judge tells of regimes massacres. London. 9 November 2006.
73
For example, Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.20.
13

conscience and others who, although ostensibly detained on suspicion of having links with
armed opposition groups, particularly the OLF and ONLF [Ogaden National Liberation
Front], may in fact have been detained for their non-violent political activities.
74

9.iii. In a major report in 2005, Human Rights Watch stated In Oromia, . . . systematic
political repression and pervasive human rights violations have denied citizens the freedom to
associate and to freely form and express their political ideas. . . . Since 1992, regional
authorities in Oromia have cultivated a climate of fear and repression by using state power to
punish political dissent in often brutal fashion. . . . security forces have imprisoned thousands
of Oromo on charges of plotting armed insurrection on behalf of the OLF. Such accusations
have regularly been used as a transparent pretext to imprison individuals who publicly
question government policies or actions.
75

9.iv. Three European Parliament resolutions concerning serious human rights violations
in Ethiopia were passed in 2005, one in 2006 and two in 2007. The June 2007 resolution
included Ethiopia needs a reconciliation process to restore the derailed democratic gains and
pave the way for sustainable development that is respectful of fundamental human rights,
political pluralism, minority rights, particularly those of ethnic Oromo, and the rule of law.
76

9.v. Human Rights Watch World Report 2008 stated Government forces committed
serious human rights violations . . . in Somali Region (Region 5). Abuses also took place in
other parts of the country, notably in Oromia State where local officials carried out mass
arrests, extra-judicial killings and economic sanctions.
77

9.vi. The report continued: In Oromia, Ethiopias most populous state, government
authorities have used the fact of a long-standing insurgency by the . . .OLF to imprison,
harass, and physically abuse critics, including school children.
78

9.vii. The US State Department wrote in 2008 Security forces began arresting individuals
throughout the Oromiya Region on the grounds that they were involved with the OLF and
possibly planning terrorist activity.
79

9.viii. Siegfried Pausewang, Senior Fellow at the Christian Michelsen Institute, Bergen,
wrote in 2009 Oromia is the region with strictest levels of control and security surveillance.

74
Amnesty International Report 2002. Ethiopia. London. 28 May 2002.
75
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.1-2.
76
European Parliament resolution of 21 June 2007 on the situation in Ethiopia. P6_TA-PROV (2007)0289
Ethiopia. Section M.
77
Human Rights Watch (2008b) World Report 2008. Ethiopia: Events of 2007. Introduction. New York. 30
January 2008.
78
Ibid. Abuses in Somali and Oromia States.
79
US State Department (2008) 2007 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 11 March 2008. Section 1.d.
14

Human rights violations are most frequent and most serious in Oromia . . . [it] is the region
with most political prisoners, and the most tight and merciless security surveillance system.
Any suspicion of being a supporter of the . . . OLF will bring an Oromo in conflict with
security forces, and expose him to arbitrary arrest, interrogation, imprisonment or worse.
80

9.ix. In 2009, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern over the
situation of children belonging to minorities, in particular Oromo and Anuak, as they suffer
stigmatization and persecution by the armed forces, including torture, rape and killings.
81

9.x. Amnesty International wrote in its 2010 country report that the Ethiopian security
forces continued to carry out periodic arrests of Oromo political leaders, businessmen and
their family members, who were often detained, sometimes without charge, for prolonged
periods. The government continued to suppress dissent in the Oromia Region . . . and
detained hundreds of people suspected of supporting the OLF. Many were believed to have
been held in incommunicado detention and many were detained without trial.
82

9.xi. The US State Department in 2010 confirmed widespread abuses in the Ogaden,
Somali Region, and reported Human rights groups and others asserted that the government
denied access to the region to prevent potential critics and observers from monitoring ENDF
[Ethiopian National Defence Forces] operations.
83
The 2011 report stated that the
government continued to restrict reporting of human rights abuses in Somali Region and
included claims by some villagers that local authorities threatened to retaliate against anyone
who reported abuses by the ENDF, special police , or militias. . . . [B]oth government
security forces and the ONLF were responsible for abuses and harsh techniques used to
intimidate the civilian population.
84

9.xii. Both 2010 and 2011 reports documented killings of people and livestock and the
burning of huts when villagers refused to be moved out of their homes in Gambella Region in
November 2008.
85


Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity

10.i. Genocide Watch, Survival Rights International, the World Organisation Against

80
Pausewang 2009. Op. cit. p.7.
81
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraph 26.
82
Amnesty International Report 2010. The State of the Worlds Human Rights: Ethiopia. London. 28 May
2010. pp.140-141.
83
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.g.
84
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.g.
85
Ibid.
15

Torture and the Aegis Trust reported the killing of Anuak and mass rape of women and
young girls by Ethiopian security forces and others in Gambella from December 2003 to
April 2004 in what they described as ethnic cleansing and genocide. The final death toll was
over 2,500. Entire villages were razed to the ground and 27,000 fled to Sudan.
86

10.ii. Human Rights Watch reported in 2009 Ethiopian military forces have continued to
commit war crimes and other serious abuses with impunity in the course of counter-
insurgency campaigns in Ethiopias eastern Somali Region and in neighboring Somalia.
87

10.iii. HRW continued Credible reports indicate that vital food aid to the drought-affected
[Somali] region has been diverted and misused as a weapon to starve out rebel-held areas.
There have been no serious efforts to investigate or ensure accountability for war crimes and
crimes against humanity committed in Somali Region and in neighboring Somalia in 2007
and 2008. Nor have ENDF [Ethiopian National Defence Force] officers or civilian officials
been held accountable for crimes against humanity that ENDF forces carried out against
ethnic Anuak communities during a counterinsurgency campaign in late 2003 and 2004.
88


Persecution of Oromo per se

11.i. The Home Office frequently states that Oromo are not persecuted in Ethiopia merely
for being Oromo. This is an understandable conclusion to draw because of the size of the
Oromo population. The assertion is however qualified by regional expert Gnter Schrder:
89

Oromos are not persecuted in Ethiopia for being Oromos as such. However, political
activities of Oromos viewed by the government to be against its interests tend to be more
severely punished than opposition actions of Ethiopians from other nationalities. . . . political
dissidence among the Oromo poses a much graver danger for the survival of the Ethiopian
state than dissidence occurring among smaller nationalities . . .
90

11.ii. Abuses are ethnically targeted according to the UN and some academics. The UN
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination stated on 20 June 2007 in its
Concluding Observations:
Paragraph 11 According to information before the Committee, both from within the UN

86
Genocide Watch and Survival Rights International report. 16 February 2004, www.genocidewatch.org, and
Genocide Alert, issued 14 April 2004 by genocidewatch@aol.com; World Organisation Against Torture.
Geneva. 13 April 2004; Aegis Trust Genocide Alert issued 15 April 2004 by office@Aegistrust.org
87
Human Rights Watch 2009. Op. cit. Introduction.
88
Human Rights Watch 2009. Op. cit. War Crimes and Other Abuses by Ethiopian Military Forces.
89
See footnote 19 on p.3 for information on Gnter Schrder.
90
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 147.
16

system and Ethiopian civil society, as well as from international non-governmental
organizations, very serious violations of human rights along ethnic and racial lines have
recently occurred in the State party.
Paragraph 19 The Committee is alarmed at information according to which military and
police forces have been systematically targeting certain ethnic groups, in particular the Anuak
and the Oromo peoples, and reports of summary executions, rape of women and girls,
arbitrary detention, torture, humiliations and destruction of property and crops of members of
those communities (articles 5 (b), (d), (e) and (f) and 6 of the Convention).
91

11.iii. Professor Tronvoll of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights wrote in 2008 of the
tendency for human rights violations to be committed along ethnic lines in Ethiopia.
92
He
stated Oromia regional state comes forward as the area with the highest level of reported
human rights violations.
93

11.iv. Due to popular support for the OLF in Oromia Region and the ONLF in Somali
Region among large shares of their constituencies, the government apparently pursue
strategies of collective punishment of citizens from these regions.
94

11.v. In every year during the time period from 1995 to 2005, the majority of reported
human rights violations in Ethiopia have occurred in the Oromia regional state. In all years
but one, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary arrests have been reported. No other regional
state has such a consistency of reported human rights violation during this time period. The
majority of these reported incidents relate to contexts where Ethiopian security forces
countered the quest for political recognition by the . . . OLF, the most prominent
representative political organisation among the Oromos.
95

11.vi. The Advocates for Human Rights, in Minnesota, corroborated the targeting of abuses
against OLF suspects and stated Often Oromo ethnicity is the sole basis of suspicion of OLF
association.
96


Prevalence of human rights abuses

12.i. There is no published survey of the prevalence of human rights violations against

91
UN. Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 70
th
Session.
CERD/C/ETH/CO/15. 20 June 2007.
92
Tronvoll, Kjetil (2008) Human Rights Violations in Federal Ethiopia: When Ethnic Identity is a Political
Stigma. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. 15, pp. 49-79.
93
Ibid. p.65.
94
Ibid. p.73.
95
Ibid. p.68.
96
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.39-41.
17

Oromo or other peoples of Ethiopia. Professor Tronvoll, of the Norwegian Centre for Human
Rights, emphasised in 2008 that human rights violations in Ethiopia were under reported and
that thousands of arrests by local officials are not registered. The kebele administrators, he
wrote, who are directly responsible to carry out government policies and dictate at the
grassroots of society - probably serve as the most prominent agents of human rights abuses in
Ethiopia, but their actions are not systematically mapped or analysed in the annual reports of
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or the US State Department.
97

12.ii. From written reports submitted to me and from more than 127 interviews with
individual refugees, from two of my meetings with groups of refugees in Kenya, and from
meetings and dialogue with audiences during presentations in the USA, UK and other
countries in Europe, a clear pattern of widespread abuses in Ethiopia has emerged. Data from
251 audited asylum cases and from 58 structured individual interviews and two group
meetings with refugees in Kenya, in September 2010, are given in sections on detention,
torture, rape, killings and disappearances, below.
12.iii. Over 75% in my series of asylum cases and 70% of refugees interviewed in Kenya
had been detained. All of those present at two group meetings in Kenya were former
detainees. In the UK asylum cases and Kenyan refugees, over 90% of detainees were beaten;
two thirds were tortured and at least half of detained women were raped. Over half of the
refugees I questioned in Kenya had relatives killed or made to disappear. In addition to these
abuses, five out of a group of 26 refugees at a single meeting in Kakuma camp reported
whole villages being burnt to the ground by Ethiopian government forces.
98


Arbitrary detention

Number detained, official and unofficial detention

13.i. In January 2011, Human Rights Watch wrote No independent domestic or
international organizations have access to all of Ethiopias detention facilities, so it is
impossible to determine the number of political prisoners and others who have been
arbitrarily detained.
99


97
Tronvoll 2008. Op. cit. p.71.
98
Trueman, Trevor (2009) Reasons for Refusal: An Audit of 200 refusals of Ethiopian Asylum-Seekers in
England. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, 23:3, 281-308. pp.285-6; Oromia Support
Group (2010a) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia: Reports from refugees in Kenya, September 2010. Report 46.
Malvern, UK. December 2010. p.2.
99
Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. Cit. Political Repression, Pretrial Detention, and Torture.
18

13.ii. Officially, according to the current US State Department report, there were 86,000
detainees at the end of 2010.
100

13.iii. The former President of Ethiopia (1995-2001), Negasso Gidada, and a former Oromia
Region minister, Yonatan Dhibisa, estimated in 2001 that between 25,000 and 34,000 were
detained on OLF-related charges in Oromia Region.
101

13.iv. Bekele Jirata, Secretary General of the OFDM, wrote in 2010 that he was held with
20-25,000 prisoners in Kaliti prison, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, and that 90% were
Oromo; nearly all youngsters, accused of involvement with the OLF. Most were high school
or university students. Also detained were academicians, businessmen, politicians, media
professionals, performing artists and members of civil societies.
102

13.v. Teshale Aberra, President of Oromia Supreme Court, claimed asylum in Britain in
November 2006.
103
When interviewed by me on 20 April 2007, he estimated that at any one
time there were 20-27,000 official detainees in Oromia Region and, in addition to this, over
30,000 were normally held in unofficial detention centres, many more when conflicts arose,
as following the 2005 elections. There were unofficial places of detention in every kebele, in
every corner of the empire, he said.
104

13.vi. The State Department reported in 2011 that there were three federal and 120 regional
official prisons and dozens of unofficial local detention centers used by local government
militia and other formal and informal law enforcement entities, mostly at military camps.
105

13.vii. Many of the Oromo refugees interviewed in Minnesota by The Advocates for Human
Rights confirmed that secret detention facilities had existed since the days of Haile Selassie
and noted that the present Ethiopian government was clever and that much of the
oppression and torture has moved underground.
106

13.viii. Journalists who were released from Kaliti prison in July 2007, after nearly two years
in detention, reported that perhaps 85% of those detained there were political prisoners from

100
US State Department 2011. Op. Cit. Section 1.c.
101
Negasso Gidada reported to Human Rights Watch that 25,000 Oromo were detained in Oromia Region and
Addis Ababa (Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. Cit. p.12.) and Yonatan Dhibisa, former Oromia Region Minister
of Justice and Administrative Affairs, claimed in February 2001, via a press release from the OLF to whom he
defected, that there were 30-34,000 political detainees in Oromia Region.
102
Jirata, Bekele (2010) From Maikelawi to Kaliti - Bekele Jirata Tells the Plight of Oromo Political Prisoners
under Zenawis Regime. Gadaa.com (opposition diaspora website) 18 September 2010.
103
Guardian newspaper 2006. Op. cit.
104
Oromia Support Group (2007) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia 2006-2007. Report 43. Malvern, UK.
August 2007. pp. 12-14.
105
US State Department 2011. Op. Cit. Sections 1.c. and 1.d.
106
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.32-37.
19

Oromia region.
107
Ex-President Negaso Gidada, reported in July 2007 that the working
language in prison was Oromo.
108
Tigrean former Defence Minister, founder member and
central committee member of the TPLF, Siye Abraha, corroborated this in January 2008, after
six years as a detainee in Kaliti prison. He said that 99% of detainees were Oromo.
109

13.ix. Of the 251 asylum applications on which I was asked to comment between 2000 and
2008, 199 reported having been detained.
110

13.x. Of the 58 refugees with whom I held prolonged, structured interviews in Kenya, 41
had been detained. Those who had not been detained were either close relatives of victims of
abuse, were former fighters (two) or had not been in Ethiopia since infancy or childhood
(three). At two meetings with groups of refugees, 26 in Kakuma camp and 19 in Githurai
estate, Nairobi, every one of them reported being detained in Ethiopia.
111


Detention without charge or trial

14.i. In 2010, the US State Department reported that incommunicado detention was
common: the location of those held without charge or trial was unknown for several months.
Police did not always respect court orders to release suspects on bail and detentions of several
years without charge or trial were reported.
112
During 2010, there was a rapid decline of
pretrial detention. Whereas the overwhelming majority of detainees in prisons were held on
pending charges in 2008, this had reduced to about 20% in most regions by the end of 2010,
according to the State Department.
113

14.ii. The State Department reported in 2011 Police continued to arrest individuals without
warrants. Opposition party members consistently and credibly reported that authorities
frequently detained persons in police stations for long periods without access to a judge.
Authorities apparently targeted certain individuals for arrest, with charges and other terms of
detention determined only after detention commenced. When a foreign citizen complained
about being detained incommunicado without warrant, he was told by a senior security

107
McCrummen, Stephanie (2007) Freed Ethiopians describe threats: journalists detail abuse, intimidation.
Washington Post Foreign Service. 21 August 2007, A10.
108
Presentation at Second Annual International Oromo Human Rights Conference, University of Minnesota, 26
July 2007.
109
Public Presentation, Virginia, 5 January 2008.
110
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. Table 1. p.286.
111
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.2.
112
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
113
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.c.
20

service official This is Ethiopia. We can do what we want. You are lucky the worst hasnt
already happened to you.
114

14.iii. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2010 The Ethiopian government continues its
longstanding practice of using lengthy periods of pretrial and pre-charge detention to punish
critics and opposition activists, even where no criminal charges are ultimately pursued.
Numerous prominent ethnic Oromo Ethiopians have been detained in recent years on charges
of providing support to the outlawed . . . (OLF); in almost none of these cases have charges
been pursued, but the accused, including opposition activists, have remained in detention for
long periods.
115

14.iv. Most of those detained, especially in rural areas, are not charged or brought to trial.
Of 33 people who were interviewed by Human Rights Watch in 2005, who had been
detained on suspicion of involvement with the OLF, not one had ever been brought to trial or
confronted with any evidence that they had committed a crime.
116

14.v. Correspondence, smuggled out of Addis Ababa prisons in 2006, reported detention
and denial of trial because of repeated judicial delays of 48 Oromo for eight years, 89 for six
years, 30 for five years, 9 for three years and 59 for two years.
117

14.vi. A journalist released from Kaliti prison in 2007 said There was a 90 year-old man
and an 86 year-old man. One had been there for twelve years, the other for eight years, and
they were still waiting for a trial.
118


Treatment of prisoners

15.i. There is little or no independent monitoring of prison conditions. The State
Department report for 2009 states The government continued to prevent ICRC
representatives from visiting police stations and federal prisons throughout the country
including those where opposition, civil society, and media leaders were held.
119
This
remained so in 2010, but the State Department pointed out that ICRC were allowed to visit
regional prisons, except in Somali Region.
120


114
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
115
Human Rights Watch (2010c) World Report 2010. Ethiopia: Events of 2009. Pretrial Detention and Torture.
New York. January 2010.
116
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.16.
117
Oromia Support Group (2006) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia 2005-2006. Report 42. Malvern, UK.
August 2006. pp.3-8.
118
McCrummen 2007. Op. cit.
119
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
120
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
21

15.ii. Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life
threatening. Severe overcrowding was common, especially in sleeping quarters . . . Medical
care was unreliable in federal prisons and almost nonexistent in regional prisons. Water
shortages caused unhygienic conditions, and most prisons lacked appropriate sanitary
facilities.
121
[T]here were some deaths in prison due to illness and poor health care. Prison
officials were not forthcoming about reports of such deaths. Several pardoned political
prisoners had serious health problems in detention but received little treatment . . .
122

15.iii. These poor conditions were corroborated in reports given to myself and others by
former detainees. For example, The Advocates reported from Minnesota With little variation
between facility or reported date of incarceration, military camps, prison camps, jails, and
secret detention facilities throughout Oromia and all of Ethiopia were described as dark,
overcrowded, and lacking adequate toilet and sleeping facilities. Interviewees also described
to The Advocates meager food provisions, lack of water, rampant illness, and deprivation of
medical care and contact with friends and family.
123

15.iv. Lethally insanitary, cold, damp conditions are commonly described.
124
Overcrowding
may be so severe that let alone sleep, there is no place to stand.
125
Bekele Jirata described
detainees being forced to sleep, piled on top of each other and wrote [M]any prisoners suffer
from TB . . . everyone through the prison coughs.
126

15.v. Although overcrowding is a major problem, solitary confinement for several weeks or
months is commonly reported to me
127
and is corroborated by the US State Department.
128

15.vi. Maikelawi Central Investigation Department, at the Third Police Station in Addis
Ababa, is notorious for torture according to Amnesty International
129
and includes
underground and unofficial detention areas within it.
130
Bekele Jirata reported being held
there for 46 days without seeing sunlight. He described narrow inner cells without room for
sitting or lying down, in one of which a detainee was forced to stand for one week with his
wrists tied.
131


121
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
122
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
123
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.32-37.
124
For example, see Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
125
Ibid. and Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.10-11.
126
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
127
For example, Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.6.
128
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
129
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/006/2004. London. 21 May 2004.
130
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
131
Ibid.
22

15.vii. Death due to medical neglect, from infectious diseases or torture injuries, is
commonly reported.
132
The death of four prisoners due to medical neglect was reported in the
2010 State Department country report.
133
In addition, three out of 52 political prisoners
arrested in 2006-7 died while in prison awaiting trial.
134

15.viii. Bekele Jirata wrote Four prisoners had died of untreated diseases within a month
when I was there [Kaliti prison]. Several prisoners are known to have died shortly after their
release, usually as a result of beating or torture in custody.
135
Amnesty International reported
in 2011 that two detainees who were released before trial in March 2010 died immediately
after their release, reportedly as a result of their treatment in detention.
136

15.ix. Prisoners themselves reported, in a communication smuggled out of Kaliti prison in
2006, some of the killings there (see below, paragraph 24.v.) and a further eight deaths
following torture and lack of medical attention.
137

15.x. Whereas there is little treatment for serious health problems,
138
reports from asylum-
seekers of receiving in-patient hospital treatment or treatment in clinics inside and outside
prison should not be automatically discounted. Limited treatment is available.
139
I have
received many credible reports of such treatment. Indeed, one of the most commonly reported
circumstances of escape from detention, often facilitated by bribery (see paragraphs 21.ii-vii.,
below), is from a civilian hospital or clinic, where detainees may be poorly guarded.
15.xi. Three of the 41 former detainees interviewed in Kenya in 2010 were transferred to
hospital while in detention. One had typhoid fever,
140
another a fractured skull
141
and the
third paid a bribe so he could be admitted to hospital to get treatment for injuries after being
severely whipped and beaten.
142
On the other hand, other detainees, including a 32 year-old
with partial paralysis of his arms following being shot in the neck, remained in detention and
received no treatment at all.
143


132
See, for example, the accounts of detention in Kaliti by former Macha-Tulama Vice-Chairman, Gamachu
Feyera, and Treasurer, Sintayehu Worknehe, in Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.20-28.
133
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
134
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section.1.e.
135
For example, Jirata 2010. Op. cit.; Oromia Support Group (2004) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press
Release 40. Malvern, UK. July 2004. pp.7, 19 and 44.
136
Amnesty international 2011. Op. cit. Prisoners of conscience and political prisoners.
137
Oromia Support Group 2006. Op. cit. p.4.
138
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
139
Three prisoners per day were allowed to attend a clinic in Kaliti prison according to one former detainee: see
Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. p.23.
140
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.31-32.
141
Ibid. p.3.
142
Ibid. pp.3-4.
143
Ibid. p.35.
23

Beating of detainees

16.i. The US State Department refers to numerous credible reports of beating and
mistreatment of detainees.
144
Of the 199 former detainees, on whose asylum applications I
was asked to comment between 2000 and 2008, 182 reported being beaten in detention.
145

16.ii. Eye-witness accounts of beating of detainees, sometimes to death, have been sent to
me and published in reports of the Oromia Support Group.
146
A journalist, released in 2007
from Kaliti prison, wrote that the 86 year-old, who he reported was detained without charge
for eight years, had scars all over his body from being beaten.
147


Continuing persecution and repeated episodes of detention

17.i. Many of the former detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch said their
eventual release from custody was only the beginning of their ordeal. In many cases, police
officials follow, harass and intimidate former detainees and their families for years after their
release.
148
In the same 2005 report, Human Rights Watch wrote Security forces have
tortured many detainees and subjected them to continuing harassment and abuse for years
after their release. That harassment, in turn, has often destroyed victims ability to earn a
livelihood and isolated them from their communities.
149

17.ii. An episode of detention is commonly followed by repeated episodes. Of the 199
former detainees, whose accounts I audited between 2000 and 2008, 72 had been detained on
two or more occasions and 30 on three or more occasions.
150

17.iii. Of the 41 former detainees interviewed in Kenya in September 2010, 24 had been
detained on two or more occasions and 12 on three or more occasions. A 56 year-old woman
reported being detained six times and three men, aged 26, 30 and 58, reported being detained
eight, thirteen and sixteen times respectively.
151

17.iv. Of the 26 former detainees present at a group meeting in Kakuma camp, 21 had been

144
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section.1.c.
145
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. Table 1. p.286.
146
For example, Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.22-23.
147
McCrummen 2007. Op. cit.
148
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.20-22.
149
Ibid. pp.1-2.
150
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. Table 1. p.286.
151
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.3-37 for overall multiple episodes of detention, pp.11, 18, 20 and
37 for the four individuals cited.
24

detained two or more times and six were detained three or more times.
152

17.v. This pattern of repeated detention and release of individuals and members of their
families is corroborated by previous reports published by the Oromia Support Group
153
and
by others,
154
including Amnesty International
155
and Human Rights Watch.
156
It is nonsense
for immigration caseworkers to assert that release from detention in Ethiopia is a sign of lack
of adverse interest by the authorities. An episode of detention is a positive risk factor for
further episodes.

Detention of family members

18.i. Being a family member of someone suspected of involvement with the OLF is
sometimes enough to justify detention. This may happen at the time of arrest or while the
suspect is in detention, but is especially likely to occur when security forces fail to find the
primary suspect or meet resistance when asking questions about them.
18.ii. Among my interviewees in Kenya in September 2010 were:
a young man who was first detained when aged ten, along with other surviving family
members after his father was shot dead in their home;
157

two women who were detained at the same time as their husbands;
158

three women whose husbands had been detained (two had disappeared in detention);
159

and one woman whose father and brother had disappeared in detention.
160

18.iii. Five of my interviewees had been detained because wanted relatives were absent
when they were visited by security forces. The brother of one young man had run off to join
the OLF.
161
One woman believed her disappeared husband had been killed.
162
Another young
woman was detained with her sister and parents when security forces came looking for her
two disappeared brothers.
163
One woman was detained because her husband had fled.
164
A 19

152
Ibid. p.2.
153
For example, Oromia Support Group (2005) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia 2004-2005. Press Release 41.
Malvern, UK. July 2005. pp.6, 8 and 11.
154
Jirata 2010. Op. Cit.; The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.32-37.
155
For example, Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/030/2007. London. 11 December 2007.
156
For example, Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.13-14.
157
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.7.
158
Ibid. pp.12 and 16.
159
Ibid. pp.14, 22 and 29.
160
Ibid. p.34.
161
Ibid. p.13.
162
Ibid. p.24.
163
Ibid. p.26
164
Ibid. p.30.
25

year-old man was detained and tortured because his brother had run off to avoid harassment
by security forces.
165

18.iv. Five of the women who were detained in these circumstances, and the sister of
another, were raped in detention.
166
Among the interviewees were also women who had been
threatened and/or raped, but not detained, when questioned about their husbands.
167

18.v. The US State Department corroborates the detention of family members: Security
forces continued to detain family members of persons sought for questioning by the
government.
168


Arbitrariness of detention, low level involvement with OLF

19.i. The Ethiopian government detains Oromo in order to punish and discourage dissent.
As well as suspected members and supporters of the OLF, their associates and family
members; others who espouse feelings of Oromo nationalism or express sympathy with the
aims of the OLF may be imprisoned. Anyone named under the duress of torture and anyone
suspected of even the most miniscule link to the OLF
169
may be detained. The security net
is cast so wide that, as noted by security expert Gnter Schrder,
170
[o]ften it was just
sufficient to be an Oromo and to be at the wrong time at the wrong place to fall victim to the
repression executed by the Ethiopian security services.
171
Innocent or accidental association
with an OLF suspect may result in detention.
19.ii. In addition to capturing any known or suspected OLF member and sympathiser, this
arbitrary use of detention intimidates and discourages others from entertaining opposition
sentiments. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2005 The thousands of Oromo who have been
subject to detention, torture and harassment for voicing their political opinions serve as
examples that intimidate their neighbors and friends . . .
172
According to Schrder, arbitrary
detention is used to send a clear signal to potential supporters and sympathizers of anti-
government organisations that these services can arrest anyone at any time and do with
him/her whatever they want without having to be afraid of legal consequences.
173


165
Ibid. p.31.
166
Ibid. pp.14, 16, 26, 29, 30 and 34.
167
Ibid. For example, pp.7 and 27-28.
168
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.f.
169
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 144.
170
See footnote 19 on p.3 for information on Gnter Schrder.
171
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 144.
172
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.1-2.
173
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 307.
26

19.iii. As well as human rights organisations, the US State Department consistently reports
that detention in Ethiopia is arbitrary.
174
The detention of children, noted by Human Rights
Watch
175
and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
176
indicates arbitrariness.
Human Rights Watch wrote that reasons for detention are sometimes bordering on the
absurd. Many of its interviewees in 2005 were at a loss to explain why they or their families
had been targeted for arrest including a 77 year-old man, detained ten times since his son ran
away in 1992 and accused of acts of terrorism on behalf of the OLF.
177

19.iv. The behaviour of security forces is unpredictable, due presumably to variations in the
attitude of individual members; whether their status reflects opportunism or genuine
allegiance to the ruling party; their views on Oromo nationalism; levels of corruption, and
their ties with potential detainees through extended family, friendship or shared experiences
in school, employment or social settings.
19.v. It is sometimes asserted by the Home Office that any involvement with the OLF,
because of the pervasiveness and penetration of the Ethiopian security system, is bound to be
discovered and severely punished. This is just as fallacious as maintaining that low level
involvement with the OLF carries no risk. The majority of the Oromo population support the
aims of the OLF
178
but it is clearly impossible for the Ethiopian government to imprison
most of 30 million Oromo. The majority of the reported 100,000 members of the OLF who
live in Ethiopia (see paragraph 2.iii., above) are not in detention, despite the imprisonment of
scores of thousands of suspected members, supporters and sympathisers. The security system
is not omnipresent and omnipotent. No security system ever is.
19.vi. The arbitrariness and unpredictability of the activities of the security service result in
the detention and long term persecution of large numbers of Oromo whose involvement with
the OLF ranges from non-existent to dedicated commitment. But large numbers of Oromo
with varying degrees of support and involvement with the OLF remain at large.

Conditions to release

20.i. Former inmates in unofficial and official detention facilities often report being
required to agree to conditions imposed on their release from detention. They often report

174
For example, US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
175
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.15.
176
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraph 38.
177
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.14.
178
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.7-11; Clapham 2009. Op. cit.p.188; Pausewang 2009. Op. cit. pp.5-6.
27

being made to sign their names or apply finger or thumb prints to written documents. The
imposition of conditions to discharge is so common that in Oromia Support Group press
releases and reports, release on the usual conditions is commonly written.
179
Being forced to
agree to conditions on discharge was spontaneously reported by 20 of 41 former detainees
interviewed in Kenya in September 2010.
180

20.ii. Frequently these conditions include promises to appear whenever summoned by
security officials and to report regularly at kebele offices or police stations, usually one to
three times every week but sometimes as often as three times per day or as little as once per
month. Such reporting has been noted by The Advocates
181
and has often been reported in
Oromia Support Group press releases and reports.
182

20.iii. Signed agreements on discharge often include confessions of culpability, promises to
remain silent about mistreatment in detention and to avoid further association with the OLF.
Commonly they include acknowledgement by former detainees that they will be killed if
again discovered to be involved with the OLF, and sometimes if the OLF undertakes any
military activity in their vicinity. This is often translated as agreeing to face an ultimate
death penalty
183
or being given a very strong warning.
184
Human Rights Watch has
reported detainees being warned not to involve themselves with politics on their release.
185

20.iv. Agreements also commonly acknowledge restrictions to movement and avoiding
mixing with groups of people.
186
(In rural areas, it is often necessary for everyone, not only
released detainees, to report their movements to local officials.)
187
A victim of gang-rape, the
wife of a detainee, told me in 2010 that she was even ordered not to leave her compound.
188


Corruption, escape, bribery and assistance

21.i. The US State Department has consistently reported Corruption remained a serious
problem.
189
Former political detainee, Bekele Jirata, wrote in 2010 Corruption in the Kaliti

179
For example, Oromia Support Group (2003) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 39. Malvern,
UK. July 2003. pp.4-5 and 6-7.
180
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit.
181
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.32-37.
182
For example, Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. Each of pp.5-8, 10, 12, 14, 16-20, 24, 31 and 35.
183
For example, Oromia Support Group 2003. Op. cit. p.11.
184
Ibid. pp.7-8.
185
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.15.
186
For example, Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.5.
187
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.39.
188
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.28.
189
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 4.
28

prison is official even up to the prison administration. He reported that if guards were
given money, prisoners were treated better. Otherwise [t]hey can punish and order the
prisoner to do whatever they want. . . . to sleep where there is no place to sleep. Without
money, a prisoner may be sent to Ziway or Showa Robit prisons which are very harsh to
live, and are located far away from ones family.
190

21.ii. The Advocates in Minnesota wrote Many Oromos reported that in the absence of a
clear and transparent legal process to contest charges against them, a payment of a fee or
bribe enabled them to get out of jail.
191

21.iii. Payment of money to secure release from detention is commonly reported as paying a
bribe, fine, bond or bail. The distinction between these terms is blurred and arbitrary,
especially for those held in unofficial detention. Out of 41 former detainees interviewed in
Kenya in 2010, nine spontaneously reported payments of several thousand Birr being made
for them to be released from detention.
192

21.iv. Although often disbelieved by immigration caseworkers and judges,
193
escape from
detention and bribery are common according to Amnesty International and Asylum Aid.
194

21.v. Amnesty International noted in 2004 that it was aware that escapes can and do happen
in detention systems throughout the world from the very sophisticated to the most basic. In
countries with unstable economies, systems of bribery which enable escape are the norm and
family members can pay large sums of money to obtain the freedom of a detainee or
prisoner.
195

21.vi. This is consistent with my experience. In the 251 asylum cases I audited between
2000 and 2008, of the 199 who reported being detained, 75 reported escaping from detention,
commonly during transfer between detention facilities, from hospitals or clinics, toilets and
sometimes during attacks on transport or places of detention by the OLF. The use of bribery
to facilitate escape was reported by 57 of the 75.
196
Detainees have often reported escaping
from hospitals and clinics through normal entrances and toilet windows and from detention
centres over or through gaps in fences or through minor entrances.

190
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
191
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.32-37.
192
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit.
193
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. p.291.
194
Amnesty International UK (2004) Get it right: How the Home Office decision-making process fails
refugees. London. February 2004. Chapter 4; Asylum Aid (1999) Still no reason at all: Home Office decisions
on asylum claims. London. May 1999. Chapter 6.
195
Amnesty International UK 2004. Op. cit. Chapter 4.
196
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. p.286.
29

21.vii. Four of the 41 former detainees interviewed in Kenya reported escaping from
detention: one escaped after paying a bribe to be allowed to go to hospital;
197
one broke out
during a toilet visit;
198
one jumped out of a Land Rover when being taken to court
199
and the
fourth escaped when heavy rain caused the collapse of the building in which he was being
unofficially detained.
200
Another interviewee reported that her husband escaped when he was
taken to the bush to be executed.
201
A 37 year-old woman reported being imprisoned at a
police checkpoint after fleeing to Kenya. She escaped and begged for help at a local hotel,
still wearing handcuffs. She was given enough money to bribe the police to release her and
allow her on her way to Nairobi.
202

21.viii. Seemingly unlikely assistance, such as this, is often given to escapees by complete
strangers, sometimes, in Ethiopia, at appreciable risk to those giving assistance. This is often
dismissed as impossible by Home Office caseworkers and immigration judges with no
knowledge of Ethiopian or African society. Several instances of assistance given for purely
altruistic reasons are known to me.
203


Torture

22.i. In 2010 Human Rights Watch reported that it and other organisations have
documented consistent patterns of torture in police and military custody for many years.
204

Its 2011World Report included Torture and ill-treatment have been used by Ethiopias
police, military, and other members of the security forces to punish a spectrum of perceived
dissenters, including university students, members of the political opposition, and alleged
supporters or insurgent groups, as well as alleged terrorist suspects. Secret detention facilities
and military barracks are most often used by Ethiopian security forces for such activities. . . .
Very few incidents of torture have been investigated promptly and impartially, much less
prosecuted. Torture and ill-treatment of detainees arrested on suspicion of involvement with
armed insurgent groups such as the . . . [OLF and the ONLF] remains a serious concern.
205


197
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.4.
198
Ibid. p.21.
199
Ibid. p.9.
200
Ibid. p.11.
201
Ibid. p.30.
202
Ibid. p.25.
203
For example, Trueman 2009. Op. cit. p.291. An Orthodox priest being helped by a monk was found
incredible by an immigration caseworker and an immigration judge.
204
Human Rights Watch 2010c. Op. cit. Pretrial Detention and Torture.
205
Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. Political Repression, Pretrial Detention, and Torture.
30

22.ii. The State Department has continued to report for several years there were credible
reports that security officials tortured, beat, and mistreated detainees. Opposition political
party leaders reported frequent and systematic abuse and intimidation of their supporters by
police and regional militias. . . . Numerous reliable sources confirmed that in Maekelawi, the
central police investigation headquarters in Addis Ababa, police investigators often used
physical abuse to extract confessions. Several political prisoners who were held at Maekelawi
and other non-traditional detention facilities independently alleged in credible detail that they
and other detainees were tortured in police station jails in attempts by security officials to
elicit confessions before their cases went to trial.
206

22.iii. In 2010, the State Department reported that Abuses included being blindfolded and
hung by the wrists for several hours, bound by chains and beaten, held in solitary
confinement for several days to weeks or months, subjected to mental torture such as
harassment and humiliation, forced to stand for more than 16 hours, and having heavy objects
hung from the genitalia. The government generally denied reports of torture in detention
centers and did not respond to specific reports of abuse.
207

22.iv. In 2011, the State Department recorded reports of consistently horrific experiences in
Maikelawi . . . lengthy nights of physical mistreatment, including: being made to lie on the
ground, handcuffed, blindfolded, and in some cases naked, while interrogators wearing
military boots stood on their chests; being whipped with wire and beaten on the head and the
insides of their feet; being gagged, hung upside down, and beaten with electrical cords; being
threatened with injection of HIV-infected blood; and being subjected to ethnic slurs.
208

22.v. According to the State Department, The UN Committee Against Torture noted in a
November 19 [2010] report that it was deeply concerned about numerous, ongoing, and
consistent allegations concerning the routine use of torture by the police, prison officers
and other members of the security forces - as well as the military, in particular - against
political dissidents and opposition party members, students, alleged terrorists, and alleged
supporters of insurgent groups, such as the ONLF and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
The committee reported that such acts frequently occurred with the participation of, at the
instigation of, or with the consent of commanding officers in police stations, detention
centers, federal prisons, military bases, and unofficial or secret places of detention.
209


206
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.c. The wording is almost unchanged from the 2008 report.
207
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.c.
208
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.c.
209
Ibid.
31

22.vi. Human Rights Watch reported in 2003 Those who have been released or escaped and
managed to flee the country have provided credible, detailed accounts of widespread and
severe torture in prisons and detention facilities in Oromia.
210

22.vii. In 2005, the organisation wrote Police officials in Oromia often subject individuals
who are arrested on suspicion of OLF-related activities to torture and other forms of
mistreatment. In some cases torture is applied in the course of interrogations, while in other
cases it is used as a form of punishment. Current and former government and OPDO
officials, at interview confirmed that the practice of torture was widespread.
211

22.viii. Amnesty International wrote in 2007 that victims of torture were political prisoners,
particularly those detained on suspicion of supporting armed opposition groups such as the
OLF and ONLF.
212

22.ix. In December 2007, Amnesty International wrote that it was not aware of any case in
Ethiopia where a judge has ordered an investigation into allegations of torture.
213
In
November 2010, the UN Committee Against Torture noted that there were numerous and
consistent reports about the government's persistent failure to investigate allegations of
torture and prosecute perpetrators, including Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) or
police commanders. The committee further noted the absence of information on cases in
which soldiers and police or prison officers were prosecuted, sentenced, or subjected to
disciplinary sanctions for acts of torture or mistreatment.
214
In 2009, security officers beat a
student and OPC member so badly that he required hospital treatment. They were prosecuted
and each was fined $31. Under foreign diplomatic pressure, the case was reopened and one
officer was sentenced to a three year prison term. He had not begun to serve this sentence by
the end of 2010 and the injured student had left the country.
215

22.x. In a survey of over 500 Oromo refugees in Minneapolis, 69% of men and 37% of
women had been tortured, compared to the usual prevalence among refugee communities of
5-35%, according to research by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Center for
Victims of Torture.
216


210
Human Rights Watch (2003) Ethiopia. Lessons in Repression: Violation of Academic Freedom in Ethiopia.
New York. January 2003. p.10.
211
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.18.
212
Amnesty International Report 2007. The State of the Worlds Human Rights: Ethiopia. London. 2007.
213
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/030/2007. London. 11 December 2007.
214
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
215
Ibid. Section 1.c.
216
Jaranson et al. (2004) Somali and Oromo refugees: correlates of torture and trauma history. American
Journal of Public Health. 94:4, 591-598. April 2004.
32

22.xi. The Advocates, in Minnesota, wrote in 2009 that torture was more commonly
practiced under the current Ethiopian regime than under the previous, Derg, communist
military dictatorship and gave several graphic accounts of torture and rape.
217

22.xii. Interviewees reported beatings, painful physical exercises, punishment, whipping of
the feet, prolonged hanging by the arms or legs, and mock executions. Both men and women
reported sexual violence including rape, assault with foreign objects, and electric shock to the
genitals. Men reported having heavy weights hung from their genitals. Other gender-specific
torture while in the detention centers was reported.
218

22.xiii. Political leader Bekele Jirata wrote in 2010 of his experience as a detainee in
Maikelawi CID and Kaliti prisons in Addis Ababa. He reported the torture of detainees by
whipping with electric cables, being kicked and walked over by military boots, being made to
stand still, barefoot, with hands raised above the head for up to 48 hours, sleep deprivation,
suspension by wrists, forced continuous exercises, severe beating to unconsciousness, being
forced to lie naked on wet concrete, being terrorised at gunpoint, and female detainees being
forced to stand naked surrounded by a group of policemen.
219

22.xiv. Former President of the Oromia Supreme Court, Teshale Aberra, claimed that torture
is routine and commonplace.
220
Journalists, released from Kaliti prison in early 2007,
reported that they were not tortured because of international media attention to their cases but
other inmates were routinely tortured . . . Every morning we would hear people screaming
and begging for their own death.
221

22.xv. In my series of 251 audited asylum cases, 134 out of 199 former detainees reported
being tortured and/or raped.
222
Commonly used methods of torture which have not been
mentioned above included immersion head first in foul water, often with a dirty rag stuffed in
the victims mouth, mock execution with the insertion of a pistol into the mouth, beating of
soles of the feet until flesh was removed (while suspended upside down), whipping with
rubber or plastic tubing, application of hot metal or plastic, electric shocks, vaginal and anal
intrusion, and forced exercise with kneeling and running barefoot on gravel.
223


217
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.26-31.
218
Ibid. p.27.
219
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
220
Guardian 2006. Op. cit.
221
McCrummen 2007. Op. cit.
222
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. p.286.
223
Pollock, Susan (1996) Ethiopia: Human Tragedy in the Making. London. March 1996. Sue Pollock
interviewed victims of abuse in Ethiopia during a two month investigation, December 1995 to January 1996.
33

22.xvi. Prolonged tying of arms behind the back, resulting in paralysis and sometimes
gangrene, was reported frequently for several years after 1991
224
but is rarely if ever
practised now. In recent years, immersion of the head in water, drenching in cold water,
being made to sleep in shallow water or on a wet concrete floor and standing for prolonged
periods have been more commonly reported.
225

22.xvii. The 58 refugees whom I interviewed in Kenya in 2010 were not selected for
interview on the basis of the severity of their mistreatment in Ethiopia. They were chosen as a
representative cross section of refugees in terms of age, gender, place of origin and length of
time in Kenya. Nonetheless, 27 (47%) reported being tortured. This amounted to 66% of
former detainees. If only male interviewees were considered, 74% (20 out of 27) were
tortured, 80% of the 25 male former detainees. The group of 26 refugees at a meeting in
Kakuma camp, all of whom had been detained, included 21 (81%) who had been tortured.
226

22.xviii. In some recent Home Office decisions and some appeal determinations by
immigration judges, accounts of asylum-seekers have been found incredible because they did
not include torture during detention (although at least two included reports of rape).
227
As the
above figures show, about 20% of men do not give reports of being tortured despite being
detained. Of the 16 women interviewees who were detained, the majority (ten) were not
tortured. (Six were tortured, including five of the nine who were raped). Most of those men
and women who were detained on more than one occasion were not tortured during every
episode of detention. The 58 year-old who was detained 16 times was tortured during only
one episode of detention.
228
Thus it is not reasonable to expect all detainees to have been
tortured, although it is commonly practised.

Rape

23.i. Rape is a part of the Ethiopian military campaign against the ONLF in the Ogaden,
Somali Region. It was widespread in the government-backed militia attacks in Gambella

Methods of torture which she recorded are summarised in Oromia Support Group (1996a) Press Release.
Malvern, UK. February 1996. p.10. See also Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit.
224
Pollock 1996 Op. cit. (see above footnote); Oromia Support Group (2008) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia
2007-2008. Report 44. Malvern, UK. August 2008. pp.21-22; Amnesty International 1995. Op. cit.
225
For example, Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.31 and 34; Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
226
See Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit.
227
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. pp.300-301.
228
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.37.
34

Region in 2003-4,
229
and is routine in places of detention. The routine rape of civilians by
soldiers in one Somali Region village was reported in the State Department country report for
2009
230
and accusations of rape by special police were reported in two zones of Somali
Region in the report for 2010.
231
Rape was one of the reasons for the dismissal of 444 staff
members by the Addis Ababa Police Commission in 2009.
232
No prosecutions resulted,
however.
23.ii. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Committee on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination against Women both expressed concerns in 2009 about the
incidence of rape in Ethiopia. In particular, the Committee on the Rights of the Child was
disturbed by numerous reports of rapes committed by members of the military.
233

23.iii. Of the 69 female former detainees in my series of audited asylum cases from 2000 to
2008, 33 reported being raped in detention or at the time of their arrest.
234

23.iv. From 1999 to 2009, I received other reports from 16 women who were detained in
Ethiopia. Two whom I interviewed had both been raped during their detention. Of the other
14, eleven reported being raped, one during both of two episodes of detention. Of the three
who did not report being raped, two were pregnant during detention. One of the interviewees
(in Minneapolis, August 2000) was confident that at least half of the women she knew in
detention were raped and was able to recall ten rape victims within her circle of contacts
during detention. An acquaintance of hers, another of my interviewees, was also raped and
asserted that 50% of female detainees were raped. One man and one of the women former
detainees reported an instance of a female prisoner being raped to death. Male former
detainees also reported rape of their wives (three instances) or daughters (one instance) at the
time of their arrest.
23.v. At least ten out of 31 women whom I interviewed in Kenya in September 2010 had
been raped by government forces. Nine out of 16 former detainees were raped and another
was raped by a soldier in her home. Four were gang-raped by 3-8 soldiers. Another was
blindfolded and raped by an unknown number, at least five times each night for 15 nights,
until I fainted.
235
One was raped nearly every night for eight months, by everyone who

229
See paragraph 10.i., above.
230
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.g.
231
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.g.
232
Ibid. Section 1.d.
233
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraphs 27 and 30.
234
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. p.286.
235
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.10.
35

brought food and water to her unofficial place of detention.
236
A 56 year-old described being
detained on six occasions and told me I was raped at every place of detention, as well as at
my own home.
237
I asked one rape victim, whom I interviewed in Nairobi, whether my
previous assessment that about 50% of female detainees were raped was fair. She told me
There were six women in my cell. All were raped. . . Fifty percent is not fair. Almost all
female detainees are raped.
238

23.vi. At a group meeting of 26 in Kakuma camp, 18 reported that friends or relatives had
been raped by members of the security forces.
239


Killings

24.i. The US State Department has consistently written in yearly country reports, up to
2010, that Ethiopian security forces committed arbitrary and politically motivated
killings,
240
although only a handful of incidents have been highlighted since the killing of a
large number of post-election demonstrators in 2005. The latest report states There was no
proof that the government and its agents committed any politically motivated killings during
the year; however, there were credible reports of involvement of security forces in the
killings and other abuses of civilians in connection with the conflict in the Somali Region and
in the deaths of opposition party activists.
241

24.ii. The Oromia Support Group has reported killings in every year since 1991, when the
current regime came to power, and by December 2010, had recorded 4,279 extra-judicial
killings.
242
Only some of these were included in the 4,077 killings recorded between 1991
and 2004 by the Ethiopian Human Rights Council
243
and the 2,725 killings recorded by mid-
2008 in the Ogaden, Somali Region, by the Ogaden Human Rights Committee.
244

24.iii. No individual or organisation is able to give an accurate assessment of the total
number of civilians who have been killed by Ethiopian government forces. Most reports, like
that in 2009 by The Advocates in Minnesota, merely state there have been many killings and

236
Ibid. p.29.
237
Ibid. p.12.
238
Ibid. p.14.
239
Ibid. p.2.
240
For example, US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
241
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
242
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.1.
243
Home Office (2008) Country of Origin Information Report: Ethiopia. 18 January 2008. Paragraph 10.04.
244
www.ogadenrights.org/THE_DIRE.htm - accessed 15 March 2011.
36

disappearances.
245
In November 2006, former President of the Oromia Supreme Court,
Teshale Aberra, estimated that, among the Oromo civilian population alone, between 15,000
and 20,000 had been killed by government forces since 1991.
246

24.iv. There have been several incidents in recent years where significant numbers have
been killed. The number reportedly killed in the post-election demonstrations in June and
November 2005 varies from 193
247
to over 200
248
At least 17 more, who were detained in
2005, died in detention.
249

24.v. Nineteen Oromo detainees at Kaliti prison in Addis Ababa were shot dead in their
cells on 3 November 2005.
250
Amnesty International confirmed 17 of the killings.
251
A
member of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, himself a former detainee, reported to US
Congress in 2006 that 65 were shot dead in the incident.
252
An eye-witness account of the
shootings was later published by the Oromia Support Group.
253

24.vi. Pro-OLF demonstrations at the end of 2005 and beginning of 2006 resulted in the
killing of 56 students (see below, paragraphs 39.xiii. and xiv.).
24.vii. In eastern Oromia Region, the killing of 19, including several teenagers, and the
disposition of their bodies for consumption by wild animals, was reported by the OLF in
March 2007
254
and by Human Rights Watch in its 2008 World Report.
255
Thirteen civilians
were also killed in one area of Wollo in November 2008.
256


25.i. The majority of recent large scale killings have been in the Ogaden, Somali Region.
Human Rights Watch published a report on the Ogaden in June 2008,
257
which included the
execution of 150 civilians, some of which were demonstration killings. Many more died of
famine and the effects of a humanitarian blockade imposed by the Ethiopian government.

245
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.31-32.
246
Guardian 2006. Op. cit.
247
US State Department (2007) 2006 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 6 March 2007. Section 1.a.
248
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.1.
249
US State Department 2007. Op. cit. Section 1.c.
250
Oromia Support Group 2006. Op. cit. pp.21-23.
251
Amnesty International Report 2007. The State of the Worlds Human Rights: Ethiopia. London. 2007.
252
Berhanu Tsige, US Congressional Hearing, Chaired by Donald Payne (Chairman, Africa Sub-committee,
Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee) 16 November 2006.
253
Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.21-23.
254
Oromo Liberation Front statement, OLF Info-desk. 11 March 2007.
255
Human Rights Watch 2008b. Op. cit. Abuses in Somali and Oromia States.
256
Oromia Support Group (2010b) Political detention and killings in Ethiopia 2008-2010. Report 45. Malvern,
UK. March 2010. p.8.
257
Human Rights Watch (2008c) Collective Punishment: War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in the
Ogaden Area of Ethiopias Somali Region. New York. 12 June 2008.
37

25.ii. As well as regularly reporting killings of smaller numbers of people, the pro-ONLF
website, Ogaden Online, reported on 9 June 2010 the killing of 34 civilians who had been
called to a meeting in the city of Malqala on 18 May. The next day, the site reported that a
total of 71 farmers and civilians had been killed in the vicinity and men were summarily
executed in front of their families. More than 60 were reportedly killed elsewhere in the
Ogaden during the same period.

26. Prolonged display of corpses and delayed removal for burial was reported in Oromia
Region in the 1990s. Examples of this followed the execution of 200 or more in Sigimo and
Gatira, Illubabor, in February 1995 and of 27 in Jarso district of West Wallega in April
1995.
258
This practice continues in the Ogaden, with the public display of the body of a young
man reported in July 2010
259
and the suspension from trees of some of the corpses of 19
civilians killed in Ganagado town, reported in March 2011.
260


27.i. Of the 58 refugees interviewed by me recently in Kenya, 32 spontaneously reported
that one or more friends or relatives had been killed by Ethiopian government forces. In 14
cases, a first degree relative (child, sibling, spouse or parent) had been killed. At a group
meeting in Kakuma camp, 16 out of 26 reported the killing of a relative, a first degree relative
in nine cases. All of a group of 19 in Githurai, Nairobi, reported that a relative had been
killed, a first degree relative in 11 cases.
261

27.ii. The killing of more than 37 individuals was reported by the 58 interviewees.
262
None
of these killings were reported by human rights organisations other than the Oromia Support
Group. In addition to these 37, some others were reportedly killed in prison
263
and the
killing of a number of other detainees was reported to one interviewee by her husband. He
told her that at least one truck-load of detainees, mainly students, were executed at a site in
the forest where they had been taken from unofficial detention in March 2006.
264

27.iii. Seventeen of the reported killings had occurred in or near the homes of interviewees,
mostly in rural areas. In one incident, seven members of one family were killed in their

258
Oromia Support Group (1995a) Press Release. August 1995. Malvern, UK. pp.6-7.
259
Ogaden Online 22 July 2010.
260
Ogaden Online 3 March 2011.
261
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.2.
262
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit.
263
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.11 and 13.
264
Ibid. p.30.
38

home.
265
Most of the ten who died in prison were shot or tortured to death. One youngster
was shot dead during a demonstration; two young men were killed trying to cross the Kenyan
border at Moyale and six, a single man and a group of five, were shot dead for no apparent
reason on roads between towns or villages. An additional 19 deaths in detention, due to
neglect and /or torture were reported by a man who was not interviewed in depth.
266


Disappearances

28.i. As with killings, disappearances are grossly under reported. Up to 2010, the US State
Department continued to report politically motivated disappearances but only named ten
individuals who disappeared in custody in 2007 and 2008,
267
and reported none in 2009 and
2010.
268
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances documented
only 112 outstanding cases of forced disappearances in 2009.
269

28.ii. Many more short term disappearances are reported as detainees are held
incommunicado for several weeks or months. Such incommunicado detention of 30-50,000
civilians for up to three months after the November 2005 post-election protests was reported
by the State Department in 2007.
270
Up to 2010, its country reports continued to include
credible reports by opposition party members that in small towns, authorities detained
persons in police stations for long periods without charge or access to a judge, and that
sometimes these persons whereabouts were unknown for several months.
271
In 2011, the
State Department wrote of innumerable reports of local police, militia members, and the
National Intelligence and Security Service seizing individuals, especially political activists,
for brief periods of incommunicado detention.
272

28.iii. It is unusual for detainees to reappear after disappearing for more than six months.
However, a few such medium-term disappeared have resurfaced. A market trader from a
wealthy family in Dire Dawa reappeared after disappearing for 11 months from July 1996,

265
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.13.
266
Ibid. p.38.
267
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.b.
268
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.b.
269
UNHCR (2009) Country of Origin Research and Information (CORI) Ethiopia: Treatment of members of the
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), including members of their family. Query ID: HCR0006E. 6 July 2009. p.9.
270
US State Department 2007. Op. cit. Section 1.b.
271
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
272
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.b.
39

when he was held in underground cells in a military camp.
273
Two UN-registered refugees in
Kenya disappeared after being subjected to refoulement to Ethiopia in May 2007 until they
were charged with terrorist offences in Addis Ababa in December 2008.
274

28.iv. The disappearance of an individual for more than one or two years probably indicates
their death in detention. The majority of the 987 disappearances of OLF suspects reported by
the Oromia Support Group up to December 2010
275
are probably in this category.
28.v. My research in Kenya in September 2010 revealed a high incidence of disappearance.
Out of 58 interviewees, 15 (26%) spontaneously reported the long-term disappearance of a
sibling, spouse or parent.
276
Three reported the disappearance of more than one relative: two
sons,
277
two brothers
278
and a father and brother who disappeared in separate incidents.
279

28.vi. At two meetings of refugee groups, 15 (58%) of 26 in Kakuma camp reported that a
relative had disappeared, and 11 (58%) of 19 in Githurai estate, Nairobi, had lost a relative in
this way, a sibling, spouse or parent in nine (47%) cases.
280

28.vii. Five of the 31 women interviewees reported being interrogated about missing
relatives; the step-father of one and the husbands of four. The four who had lost husbands
(two who had disappeared in detention and two who had gone missing and were believed
killed shortly after release), were themselves detained when they accused their interrogators
of killing or detaining their husbands incommunicado. Whether they had been questioned
because of genuine lack of record keeping and communication between different branches of
the security apparatus is not known. Given the relative sophistication of the security system
and its permeation into society (see sections 41-46, below), it seems unlikely that government
officers would be unaware of those they had detained or killed. It is probable that the
questioning of these women was intimidatory rather than investigative.

Judicial process and rule of law

29.i. Arrests do not observe legal processes and even if a political detainee is charged and
appears in court, a fair trial is unlikely.

273
Oromia Support Group (1998a) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 21. Malvern, UK.
January/February 1998. p.2.
274
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.43-44.
275
Ibid. p.1.
276
Ibid. p.2.
277
Ibid. p.3.
278
Ibid. p.26.
279
Ibid. p.34.
280
Ibid. p.2.
40

29.ii. Up to 2010, the US State Department continued to state Some local officials believed
they were not accountable to a higher authority
281
and it continues to report Authorities
regularly detained persons without warrants and denied access to counsel and family
members, particularly in outlying regions.
282
Officials of the Macha-Tulama Association
recounted how they were denied contact with their families and legal representatives when
detained repeatedly between 2004 and 2007.
283

29.iii. In 2009, the UN Country Team noted reports that the powers of the police to arrest
and detain suspects were not sufficiently controlled by the public prosecutors office or the
courts, resulting in instances of prolonged pre-trial detention, use of force against suspects
during arrest and interrogation, and cases of arbitrary arrest and detention.
284


30.i. OFDM Secretary General and former detainee, Bekele Jirata, wrote in 2010 about the
process of manufacturing false testimony against political prisoners. He wrote of prosecution
witnesses being drafted in from different parts of Oromia Region and being given
orientation while they stayed in Maikelawi for a week. They were shown photographs of
detainees and instructed what to say in court. In addition to that, the security police showed
the prisoners to the witnesses at the gate of the court so that they could clearly identify [them]
before appearing in the court. Some of the witnesses were those who were imprisoned by the
same charge and released on agreements made between the government and the prisoners.
Others were unemployed young people paid by the federal security service.
285

30.ii. Bekele Jirata also wrote of the fabrication of evidence by the police. Degene Daba
was among those who were bitterly beaten almost to death. He was urinating pure blood for a
month while he was kept in chains. He was accused of transporting ammunition to the OLF
fighters. The police took a picture of him with bullets taken from one of the offices in the
Maikelawi compound, and that picture was used as an evidence.
286

30.iii. The State Department reported in 2011 the concoction of charges of theft against a
human rights defender and the arrest on terrorism charges of a defence witness at his trial.
287


281
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.e.
282
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
283
Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.19-28.
284
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraph 36.
285
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
286
Ibid.
287
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
41

30.iv. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2005 In many cases, the courts allowed police to hold
detainees for several months by acquiescing to repeated requests for more time to look for
evidence even though the police had already failed to meet one or more court-imposed
deadlines for the production of such evidence.
288

30.v. Even when ordered by the courts, police may not comply. The State Department
consistently reports Police officials did not always respect court orders to release suspects on
bail,
289
which is widely corroborated by human rights organisations and former detainees.
290

The Treasurer and Vice-Chairman of the Macha-Tulama Association, both now in exile,
reported illegal detention by police in defiance of court orders for their release.
291


31.i. Criminal trials are subject to government interference. The State Department
continues to report Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence,
the criminal courts remained weak, overburdened, and subject to significant political
intervention and influence.
292

31.ii. A 2009 UN report included the Independent Expert on minority issues urged
Ethiopia to respect the independence of judges and lawyers and the impartiality of the
judiciary.
293

31.iii. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2008 that the judicial system remains unable to assert
independence in prominent cases. In the treason trial, for example, the trial judges showed
little concern for defendants procedural and constitutional rights . . .
294

31.iv. The Minnesota-based Advocates for Human Rights wrote in 2009 of coercion of
judges and the strong government influence in their decision-making and lack of respect for
judicial orders by the police and military. Several people reported to The Advocates that the
government put pressure on judges to rule in its favor and refused to enforce judicial rulings
with which it disagreed. A former Ethiopian judge told them that the judiciary is not a place
where you can make decisions on the basis of the law. There is tremendous political
intervention by the political organs and the cadres, and youll be threatened. As a judge in
Ethiopia you are extremely powerless, actually.
295


288
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.15.
289
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
290
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.37-39; Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
291
Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.19-28.
292
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.e.
293
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraph 35.
294
Human Rights Watch 2008b. Op. cit. Lack of Judicial Independence.
295
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.37-39.
42

31.v. According to Bekele Jirata The judiciary was under government pressure and direct
interference. The prejudicial statement of the Minister of Communication, Bereket Simon,
[that Jirata and other defendants were guilty of terrorist-related offences] was a warning to
the judiciary. Interference and pressure led to frequent changes of judges and delays totaling
18 months during Bekele Jiratas trial.
296

31.vi. The former President of Oromia Supreme Court left Ethiopia in 2006 because of
pressure on the judicial system from the government and threats from senior figures in the
Oromia regional government. They warned me to comply with demands to suppress certain
judges, to detain people who had been released, and release the people who had been
detained but the government wanted out he told the Guardian newspaper.
297


32.i. Human Rights Watch reported in 2008 that trial judges . . . ignored claims of serious
mistreatment by prison authorities.
298
This is corroborated by Bekele Jirata: We appeared in
this court six times during this ordeal. Our appeals for being tortured by the police and our
requests for bail were rejected by the judge.
299

32.ii. In an Urgent Action at the end of 2007, Amnesty International reported that no judge
had ordered an investigation into allegations of torture made by defendants in court.
300


Civil society

33.i. Professor Abbink wrote in 2009 that because of the Ethiopian governments control of
civic space, no grass roots associations, no independent trade unions or media or teachers
unions, and no independent NGOs can operate: in short, no autonomous, independent socio-
political dynamics can develop.
301

33.ii. In March 2010, Human Rights Watch wrote Ethiopias citizens are unable to speak
freely, organize political activities, and challenge their governments policies - through
peaceful protest, voting, or publishing their views - without fear of reprisal.
302



296
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
297
Guardian newspaper 2006. Op. cit.
298
Human Rights Watch 2008b. Op. cit. Lack of Judicial Independence.
299
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
300
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/030/2007. London. 11 December 2007.
301
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.23.
302
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.2.
43

34.i. Government control and limitation of civil society was codified in the Charities and
Societies Proclamation, which was enacted in 2009. Former Brookings Institution expert,
Professor Terrence Lyons, wrote on 3 September 2008 The Charities and Societies
Proclamation . . . [then under consideration]. . . also indicates that the lesson the EPRDF
learned from the 2005 elections is that more control is needed. The government argues that
the proclamation will increase NGO accountability. Its restrictions on organizations engaged
in human rights activities and organizations that accept foreign funding, however, seem
designed to direct and monitor civil society organizations and punish those who challenge the
ruling party. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch argue that the draft
proclamation represents an assault on civil society.
303

34.ii. Many countries expressed concern about the Charities and Societies Proclamation at
the UN Universal Periodic Review of Ethiopia in 2009.
304
The UN country team highlighted
the law as a source of concern with respect to freedom of association.
305

34.iii. Bodies working on human rights are particularly vulnerable to the new law. Human
Rights Watch wrote that it is one of the most restrictive of its kind, and its provisions will
make most independent human rights work impossible.
306
Abbink described it as one of the
most restrictive in the world.
307
Amnesty International wrote that it imposed strict controls
and restrictions on civil society organisations, whose work included human rights,
308
that
some organisations ceased their work on human rights and that [s]everal human rights
defenders fled abroad fearing government harassment following the implementation of the
law.
309
In 2011, the US State Department wrote that, according to the Ministry of Justice,
registered organisations fell from 3,522 to 1,655 after the law was adopted.
310


35.i. Civil society has been eroded since the present regime came to power with, for
example, the early persecution of members of the Ethiopian Teachers Association
311
and, in

303
Lyons 2008. Op. cit.
304
UN Human Rights Council (2010) Thirteenth session. Universal Periodic Review: Ethiopia. A/HRC/13/17. 4
January 2010. Concerns about the proclamation were expressed by Canada (paragraph 34), United States
(para.42), Netherlands (para.44), Sweden (para.67), Ireland (para.76), Norway (para.78) and Switzerland
(para.85).
305
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraph 42.
306
Human Rights Watch 2010c. Op. cit. Introduction.
307
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.16.
308
Amnesty International 2010. Op. cit. p.140.
309
Amnesty International 2011. Op. cit. Human rights defenders.
310
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
311
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section1.c.
44

2007, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council.
312

35.ii. The Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA) has operated since 1967, but after the
EPRDF took power in 1993, an alternate, pro-EPRDF ETA was established. . . . In 2008 the
Court of Cassation ruled against the original ETA and awarded its name and property to the
pro-EPRDF ETA . . . the original ETA applied to the MOJ [Ministry of Justice] for
registration as the National Teachers Association, but was denied registration.
313

35.iii. The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions, the largest employment union in
Ethiopia, was also an early casualty. By the end of 1995, despite backing from the
International Labour Organisation, its leaders had been dismissed, bank accounts frozen and
its members harassed and intimidated.
314
Three CETU officials were driven into exile in
1997.
315


36.i. No independent Oromo organisation has survived the attack on civil society. Attacks
on the Oromo Relief Association (ORA) began before the OLF was proscribed. In March
1992, a bomb was thrown into its head office in Addis Ababa. When the OLF was forced out
of the transitional government in June 1992, ORAs vehicles and assets were seized.
Beginning again from scratch, by 1995 it had become the second largest agency providing
relief and development in Oromia Region. It ran the eighth biggest food-for-work programme
in Ethiopia and provided vital support for 200,000 and assistance to a further 300,000 in the
region, with projects run from offices in Wallega in West Oromia, Borana in South Oromia,
and Dire Dawa in Hararge, East Oromia.
316

36.ii. Projects in the south were closed and assets seized in August 1995, those in the west
were closed in September, and in the east in November. ORA staff members from south and
west were detained for short periods.
317
The director of the Dire Dawa office was imprisoned
in February 1996 and disappeared until released eight months later.
318

36.iii. The head office in Addis Ababa limped on with a skeleton staff until closed by Addis
Ababa police in February 1996. Its assets worth $2 million were seized; 27 thousand quintals

312
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
313
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
314
Interview of CETU official by Sue Pollock, in Oromia Support Group 1996a. Op. cit. p.17.
315
Oromia Support Group (1997a) Press Release. Malvern, UK. May/June 1997. p.17.
316
Oromia Support Group 1996a. Op. cit. pp.11-13; Oromia Support Group (1995b) Press Release. October
1995. Malvern, UK. p.6.
317
Ibid.
318
Oromia Support Group 1996a. Op. cit. p.7; Oromia Support Group (1996b) Press Release. Malvern, UK.
June/July 1996. p.8; Oromia Support Group (1996c) Press Release. Malvern, UK. October/November 1996. p.8.
45

of grain were left to rot in silos and ORAs cattle in Wallega were left to die.
319
The
Executive Director survived a suspected poisoning attempt, but the Oromo clinic where he
was treated was closed down.
320

36.iv. ORA also had offices in Djibouti and Khartoum providing assistance to Oromo
refugees, reported later to number 15,000 in Sudan and over 20,000 in Dibouti.
321
In June
1995, its office in Djibouti was ordered closed at the request of the Ethiopian government.
322

Three UN recognised refugees who helped an ORA fact-finding mission in Djibouti in July
and August 1996 reported being harassed and detained
323
and they were among 4,000 Oromo
refugees subject to refoulement back to Ethiopia in 2004.
324

36.v. Following an Ethiopian government delegation to Sudan, the ORA office in
Khartoum was closed and its equipment confiscated in August 1998.
325


37.i. The Executive Director of ORA, board members of the nascent (Oromo) Human
Rights League, journalists of URJII independent Oromo language newspaper, members of the
Oromo Elders Committee, and board members and officials of the Oromo self-help and
cultural organisation, the Macha-Tulama Association, were among more than 100 high
profile Oromo who were detained in October and November 1997.
326
In March 1998, the
office of the Human Rights League was closed.
327
Over sixty of the detainees were charged
with terrorist offences and held for more than three years, but not convicted of any crime.
328

37.ii. The Macha-Tulama Association (MTA) was formed as an Oromo self-help, social
welfare and education organisation in 1963. It was periodically banned and its members
detained or killed by the regimes of Haile-Selassie and the Derg. It was revived in 1991 when

319
Oromia Support Group 1996a. Op. cit. pp.11-13; Oromia Support Group 1996b. Op. cit. p.15.
320
Oromia Support Group 1996b. Op. cit. p.15.
321
Oromo Relief Association, London. Press Release. 15 November 1998. In Oromia Support Group (1999)
Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 26. Malvern, UK. December 1998/January 1999. p.8.
322
Oromia Support Group 1995a. Op. cit. pp.14-15.
323
Oromia Support Group 1997a. Op. cit. p.13.
324
Personal communication with refugees who were in Djbouti at the time of the refoulement and escaped to
Kenya (including Mohmmed Said Ibrahim, Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.3), Nairobi, 18 September
2010. The refoulement of 4,000 from Djibouti was reported in Oromia Support Group (2004) Human Rights
Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 40. Malvern, UK. July 2004. pp.44-47.
325
Oromia Support Group (1998b) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 24. Malvern, UK.
August/September 1998. p.10.
326
Oromia Support Group (1997b) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 20. Malvern, UK.
November/December 1997. pp.1-4; The Advocates 2009 . Op. cit. p.40.
327
Oromia Support Group 1999. Op. cit. p.7.
328
Personal conversation with one of the detainees, Garoma Bekele Wakessa, General Manager of URJII
newspaper and General Secretary of the Human Rights League, London. 11 March 2010.
46

the Derg was overthrown.
329
Officers and members were detained in 1997 (see above
paragraph), 2002 and 2004.
37.iii. MTA officials, together with other development organisation employees, journalists
and students, were detained in May 2004 and accused of involvement with the OLF. In July,
the MTA office was closed. Its assets were seized and handed over to the Federal Disaster
Prevention and Preparedness Commission. Officials were released for one week in August
2004 and again between November 2004 and February 2005, from when they remained in
detention until early 2007.
330
Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Country Guidance is that
suspected MTA membership now carries a substantial risk on return to Ethiopia.
331


Media

38.i. Professor Abbink, head of a research group at the African Studies Centre in Leiden,
wrote in 2009 Another sign of democratic decay is the growing suppression of the local
independent media: most free-press newspapers have disappeared and their editors jailed,
charged in court, or urged to leave the country.
332

38.ii. In their latest world report, the Committee to Protect journalists wrote that Ethiopia
was the second worse jailer of the press in the region, after Eritrea.
333

38.iii. By May 2010 many of Ethiopias leading independent journalists and human rights
activists had fled the country due to implicit and sometimes explicit threats according to
Human Rights Watch. Threats of invoking the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation forced the
largest circulation newspaper, Addis Neger, to close and its editors to leave the country by the
end of 2009. Journalists were beaten, interrogated and imprisoned; newspaper premises were
attacked; and owners of publishing houses were fined for outrages against the constitution
due to their coverage of the elections five years previously.
334

38.iv. In 2010, according to the State Department, The government continued to arrest,
harass, and prosecute journalists, publishers and editors. The government continued to control
all broadcast media, including the sole television station, except three private FM radio

329
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.40.
330
Oromia Support Group 2004. Op. cit. pp.11-12; Amnesty International. Urgent Action follow up report, AFR
25/012/2004. London.13 November 2004; Human Rights Watch 2008b. Op. cit. Mistreatment of Human Rights
Defenders and Civil Society.
331
UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (2007). MB (OLF and MTA risk) Ethiopia CG [2007] UKAIT
00030.
332
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. pp.16.
333
Committee to Protect Journalists (2011) Attacks on the Press 2010: Ethiopia. 15 February 2011.
334
Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. Freedom of Expression and Association.
47

stations. Reporters for foreign media were intimidated, harassed, detained and threatened
with expulsion. The editor of Awramba Times resigned after accusations of unbalanced
reporting and his successor complained of mail being opened and destroyed. The owner of
The Reporter was prevented from developing an independent printing house and the papers
existing office in Addis Ababa was closed down. The young acting editor of Afar opposition
paper Al-Quds was detained on the day that his father, the editor, was released from
detention.
335

38.v. In 2009, two Ethiopian reporters for Voice of America radio had their licences
temporarily revoked, one journalist was attacked and another was sentenced to three years
detention under the defunct 1992 press law for publishing an article on human rights abuses
against Oromo in 2004.
336

38.vi. Amnesty International reported that, in 2009, two editors were jailed for one year for
reporting human rights violations in 2005.
337

38.vii. In 2008, three publishers and editors were arrested, one fined and another imprisoned.
Four other journalists were temporarily detained. There were eight other court appearances of
journalists, two of whom were later attacked and intimidated. Four journalists fled into exile
in 2008.
338

38.viii. In 2010, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle radio broadcasts to Ethiopia were
jammed until October. The stations were accused by Prime Minister Zenawi of using
genocide hate-speech as used in Rwanda.
339
VOA was again jammed whenever political
issues were broadcast during March 2011 as waves of civilian protest occurred in Algeria,
Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya.
340

38.ix. The government restricted access to the Internet and blocked opposition Web sites . .
. and several news blogs and Web sites run by opposition diaspora groups . . . The news Web
site for VOA was inaccessible from March to October [2010].
341
Access to the VOA News
website was also blocked during the Arab spring of 2011.
342




335
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
336
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
337
Amnesty International 2010. Op. cit. p.141.
338
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
339
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Sections 2.a and 3.
340
Voice of America News. 23 March 2011.
341
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
342
Voice of America News. 23 March 2011.
48

Demonstrations, freedom of assembly

39.i. The Ethiopian government demonstrates its intolerance of dissent in its handling of
public protest. Demonstrators have been killed, severely beaten and imprisoned in nearly
every year from 2000 to 2008.
39.ii. Extensive fires burned from February to April 2000, affecting over 100,000 hectares
of forest in at least 200 sites in Oromia Region. Local informants claim they were started by
government officials. Across the state, Oromo students demonstrated against delays in
fighting the fires. At least seven students were killed in these demonstrations and several
hundred were detained.
343

39.iii. Amnesty International reported in January 2001 that 150 Oromo Addis Ababa
university students, detained since disturbances in late December 2000, were at risk of torture
or ill-treatment. About 200 were severely beaten at the time of arrest.
344

39.iv. Riot police invaded the campus on 11 April 2001, according to the UN news agency
IRIN. Reuters reported over 50 serious injuries. The students were demanding the right to
produce a newspaper, establish a union and to expel armed police from the campus. Rioting
spread to schools and the civilian population on 17 and 18 April. National media reported 30-
40 students were killed. Over 2,000 students were detained, including the Chairman of the
Oromo Students Association and many other Oromo.
345
Eye-witness accounts obtained by
The Advocates in Minnesota claimed over 40 deaths and more than 5,000 arrests.
346

39.v. A protest against the results of a local assembly election was met with violence at
Tepi, SNNPR, on 11 March 2002. At least 24 Sheko and Mezhenger demonstrators, unarmed
according to most sources, were killed by police. Troops were called in from Gambella
Region and at least 128, probably several hundred and possibly as many as 1,000, were killed
in a scorched earth campaign over the next four weeks.
347

39.vi. In March and April 2002, students and teachers demonstrated against government
policies in at least 28 towns and cities in Oromia Region. Government officials claimed that
the protests were organised by the OLF. At least 16 students were killed when police opened

343
Oromia Support Group (2000) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 31. Malvern, UK. July
2000. pp.2-11.
344
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/001/2001. London. 12 January 2001.
345
Oromia Support Group (2001) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 34. Malvern, UK. August
2001. pp.1-3.
346
The Advocates. Op. cit. pp.56-58.
347
Oromia Support Group (2002a) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 38. Malvern, UK.
December 2002. p.13.
49

fire on unarmed protestors. Many were seriously wounded and several hundred were
detained. Some were reportedly tortured. In May, another 200 or more Addis Ababa
university students were briefly detained.
348

39.vii. On 24 May 2002, at least 40 unarmed demonstrators, among 7,000 in a peaceful
procession in Awassa, Sidama, SNNPR, were shot dead by police using machine guns
mounted on armoured vehicles. Sidama Concern reported at least 100 were killed, including
12 children. Hundreds of arrests followed.
349

39.viii. About 100 arrests were made when over 3,000 joined a Macha-Tulama Association
demonstration on 4 January 2004 against removal of the Oromia Region capital from Addis
Ababa to Adama (Nazareth).
350
Eight Oromo students who protested at a government-
sponsored cultural event at Addis Ababa university on 18 January were taken from their
dormitories to Maikelawi CID.
351

39.ix. About 500 students protested against these detentions outside the University
Presidents office on 21 January and were taken to Kolfe Military Camp, where they were
forced to walk and kneel on gravel. Most were released after 24-48 hrs, but over 300 were
suspended from the university.
352

39.x. The arrests and suspensions precipitated widespread student protest across Oromia
Region from January to May, which resulted in 7,000 arrests, according to the Ethiopian
Teachers Association, and the killing of at least 12 students. Police fired live ammunition to
disperse the demonstrators. Over 600 students fled to Kenya. Most were repatriated by 25
May, of whom at least 25 were arrested. Secondary education centres in Oromia remained
closed for several months.
353
At least one student who was arrested in 2004 remained in
detention, as of 2009.
354

39.xi. After the [2005] elections, the government used excessive force in their clampdown
on urban protests . . . , killing around 200 and detaining and charging leaders of the main
opposition party, civil society organizations, and journalists, with serious crimes. Thousands
of youths were also picked up from the neighbourhoods of Addis Ababa and other regional

348
Oromia Support Group (2002b) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 37. Malvern, UK. July
2002. pp.2-13; The Advocates. Op. cit. pp.56-58.
349
Oromia Support Group 2002a. Op. cit. pp.13-15.
350
Open letter from Addis Ababa university students to Oromo Relief Association, London. 14 February 2004.
351
Ibid.; Ethiopian Human Rights Council (2004) 74
th
Special Report. Addis Ababa. 10 February 2004; The
Advocates. Op. cit. pp.56-58.
352
See above reference 331.
353
Oromia Support Group 2004. Op. cit. pp.2-18; Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/005/2004.
London. 19 April 2004; The Advocates. Op. cit. pp.56-58.
354
The Advocates. Op. cit. pp.56-58.
50

cities and sent to short-term detention camps without being charged.
355

39.xii. The Ethiopian government suppressed findings of its commission of enquiry into the
violence, but the commission chairman and his deputy fled to the USA with their evidence
that excessive violence was used, protesters were unarmed
356
and snipers had deliberately
killed opposition leaders with single shots to the head.
357
Between 30,000 and 50,000
civilians were detained incommunicado for up to three months in remote detention centres
after the November demonstrations.
358
Unconstitutionally, 18,000 of these detainees were
tried in regional rather than federal courts. In a rare demonstration of judicial independence,
judges in Oromia Region courts acquitted all but 500 because of lack of evidence.
359

39.xiii. Following a call from the OLF, there were separate and widespread demonstrations
by Oromo students from 9 November 2005, calling for the release of political prisoners.
Several thousand school and college students were reported detained by Amnesty
International as well as several killings by security forces. Detainees were held
incommunicado and at risk of torture. Some were being held in locations where torture has
frequently been reported, such as Ambo Palace prison and Senkele police training centre . . .
The whereabouts of many of the detainees, some taken to remote rural prisons, are not
known.
360
Local informants and Ethiopian press reported killings of 39 students in
November demonstrations.
361

39.xiv. Another wave of Oromo student demonstrations began in February 2006 and resulted
in the killing of at least 17.
362
Ethiopian media and Voice of America radio reported further
clashes between students and police at over 20 sites in Oromia Region from February to May,
with numerous beatings and arrests and several killings.
363
The US State Department reported
180 arrests in Adama, Oromia Region, on 27 May, and 250 arrests in Tikur Inchini, Oromia
Region, after an ONC party protest; 81 were still in detention at the end of the year.
364

39.xv. In January 2007, high school students in Dembi Dollo, Wallega, protested against the
arrest of three of their number following an explosion near the school. They were beaten by

355
Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. p.112.
356
US State Department 2007. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
357
European Parliament resolution of 21 June 2007 on the situation in Ethiopia. P6_TA-PROV (2007)0289
Ethiopia. Section E.
358
US State Department 2007. Op. cit. Section 1.b.
359
Interview with former President of Oromia Region Supreme Court, Teshale Aberra, London. 20 April 2007.
In Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.12-14.
360
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/002/2006. London. 30 January 2006.
361
Oromia Support Group 2006. Op. cit. pp.20-29.
362
Ibid.
363
See Oromia Support Group 2006. Op. cit. pp.20-29.
364
US State Department 2007. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
51

police and 20 were arrested. On 18 January, as students gathered to march to local
government offices with a petition protesting about these arrests, police entered the school
compound and beat students so badly that one, possibly two, died. Eight were hospitalised
and more were arrested. At least two were reportedly tortured in detention.
365

39.xvi. A 19 year-old Oromo school student at Gedo, West Showa, was shot dead and
another hospitalised after being shot in the chest, during a demonstration against racist
literature, by secondary school students in February 2008. Two other students were detained
for two weeks. Three weeks later, seven OPC candidates in the 2008 elections, were arrested
and accused of inciting violence at the demonstration.
366

39.xvii. In December 2009, students and elderly citizens were among those beaten for
protesting about pollution associated with gold mines in Laga Dembi, SNNPR. Mass arrests
continued into 2010 and included two political figures, a former MP and three university
students.
367
In January 2010, Oromia police shot two unarmed students, one of them fatally,
during a college riot in Arsi, Oromia Region.
368


Control and monitoring

Party membership and local councils

40.i. Control of the Ethiopian population is oppressive and pervasive. Professor Abbink
wrote in 2009 the EPRDF is continuing to organise and co-opt the rural population in party
structures so that they can be surveyed and used to help execute the top-down policies drawn
up in the towers of power, the party offices in Addis Ababa.
369

40.ii. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2010 Between 2005 and 2008, . . . the EPRDFs party
membership more than quadrupled, from approximately 760,000 to more than 4 million
members in just three years. . . . the EPRDF first expanded the number of available positions
on kebele and woreda councils and then won more than 99.9 percent of the 3.5 million seats,
thus consolidating its control of the local administrative structure.
370

40.iii. Norwegian academics wrote the outcome of the [2008] elections resembles old
Soviet plebiscite rituals . . . The consequence of this electoral reform is thus clear. In a kebele

365
Human Rights Watch (2007). Open letter to Ethiopian Ministers on human rights violations against students.
New York. 20 February 2007.
366
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
367
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
368
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
369
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.23
370
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. pp.2-3.
52

. . . the calculation presents a totalitarian picture . . . , resulting in overwhelming control of
the local community.
371

40.iv. Former Brookings Institution expert, Professor Terrence Lyons, wrote, In addition to
restricting political space, the ruling party used these elections to deepen its control over the
smallest, subcommunity level of administration, the kebelle councils.
While kebelles are quite small, some of the councils have up to 300 members. As a result,
some 4 million Ethiopians in a country of 75 million 1 in 20 are now part of an EPRDF-
controlled council. The EPRDF, always an extraordinarily effective party, is now ubiquitous
and entrenched throughout the country.
372

40.v. Human Rights Watch went further: in an average kebele, one of every 10 residents
almost one member of every familyis now both a kebele official and EPRDF member.
373


Monitoring the population

41.i. Administratively, Ethiopia is divided into regions, zones, woredas or districts, and
then kebeles. When the EPRDF ousted Mengistu from power in 1991, it retained the peasant
associations, or kebele structures, that the Derg had initially established in 1975 as a tool of
development and land reform for millions of rural peasants, but which quickly transformed
into a useful method of control and repression. The kebele council is the primary unit of
administration at the village or neighborhood level. Kebele officials wield a great deal of
power over constituents in a myriad of ways. In Ethiopias strict hierarchical society,
challenging these officials was virtually unthinkable for decades and the line between state
and ruling party was non-existent.
374

41.ii. The Ethiopian governments grassroots-level surveillance machine extends into
almost every community . . .
375
In the countryside, where more than 85% of Oromias
population resides, the government has gone to even greater lengths to maintain control and
put down dissent. . . . regional authorities have created an entirely new set of quasi-
governmental institutions that now monitor and control the activities, speech and movement
of the rural population down to the level of individual households.
376
Local officials in
Oromia have also made extensive use of the kebele system, along with smaller cells called

371
Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. p.116.
372
Lyons 2008. Op. cit.
373
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. pp.2-3.
374
Ibid. pp.17-18.
375
Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. The 2010 Elections.
376
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.1-2.
53

gott and garee, to keep residents under constant surveillance for signs of government
criticism.
377
Each garee unit has about 30 households.
378

41.iii. Former MP Belete Etana wrote in 2009 Authorities imposed the new structures, the
Garee and Goxii system to monitor the speech and personal lives of the rural population,
to restrict and control the movement of the residents.
379

41.iv. With a significant proportion of the population belonging to the ruling party and
sitting on kebele councils, and surveillance of every few huts and houses in the gott and
garee system, the rural population is very closely monitored. As part of the monitoring
process, all movements in and out of villages have to be reported to local officials and many
Oromo report being followed, harassed and spied upon, when moving from place to place.
380

Former detainees have even reported being followed to wedding celebrations and having their
contacts and conversations monitored there.
381


42.i. Movements may also be closely watched in the cities. The Vice-Chairman and
Treasurer of the Macha-Tulama Association, when released from detention in March 2007,
both reported being closely followed to and from home and work in Addis Ababa, including
being forced to accept security agents accompanying them in taxi journeys.
382

42.ii. An Oromo who was refused asylum in the UK, forcibly removed and detained on
arrival in September 2008 (see paragraph 76.x., below) was so harassed and intimidated by
security agents when released, that he fled again a few weeks later to South Sudan.

43.i. A network of paid informants fills in many of the gaps in the governments almost
complete access to nearly every individuals affairs. Refugees report that the Ethiopian
government recruits vulnerable young people, such as students who have dropped out of
school, unemployed youth, or impoverished Oromos to conduct such surveillance . . . They
live in small towns and are in charge of groups of houses, passing along information
[through] a network of government agents.
383

43.ii. State Department reports continue to corroborate this: The government used a

377
Human Rights Watch 2008a. Op. cit.
378
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.17.
379
Etana 2009. Op. cit.
380
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.46.
381
Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.5.
382
Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.19-28.
383
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.43.
54

widespread system of paid informants to report on the activities of particular individuals.
384

43.iii. Under the Derg communist military dictatorship, when the security apparatus was less
well developed than it is now, openly speaking the Oromo language on university campuses
or in public spaces, such as cafs, bars and even street corners in Addis Ababa, attracted the
interest of security agents.
385
Refugees in Minnesota reported to The Advocates that this is
again the case. The mandatory use of the Oromo language in schools, reversing the decades
old policy prohibiting instruction in any language other than Amharic, has not apparently
lessened government suspicion that people who speak or write in the Oromo language
support the OLF.
386
The deputy leader of the legal Oromo opposition party, the OFDM, told
Voice of America News in March 2011 Anyone who speaks the language and does not
belong to the ruling party is a suspect and can be taken to prison any time.
387

43.iv. Security agents openly demand information and test the loyalty of influential
individuals to the government. The President of Oromia Supreme Court reported being
visited at home by security personnel and being asked about the private lives of colleagues.
To demonstrate his allegiance to the regime, he was told to send his 14 year-old son to a
colleagues house to report on his choice of television programs and the identity of the
visitors he received.
388

43.v. Human Rights Watch were also told that neighbours were asked to report on each
other and told to avoid the company of suspected supporters of the OLF. The family and
friends of former detainees were harassed by security officials.
389


44.i. Former detainees in Ethiopia
390
and in exile in Kenya
391
report receiving phone calls
repeatedly from security agents who threaten they will be killed.
44.ii. Two former journalists reported being followed by Ethiopian security agents in

384
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.f.
385
Personal communications with many Oromo colleagues and health workers, when working in Sudan and
Ethiopia between 1988 and 1991 and subsequently with many Oromo friends and colleagues in Europe and
North America.
386
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.2.
387
Voice of America News 23 March 2011.
388
Interview with former President of Oromia Region Supreme Court, Teshale Aberra, London. 20 April 2007.
In Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.12-14.
389
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.20-22 and 38.
390
Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.19-28.
391
McCrummen 2007. Op. Cit.; Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.5 and 27; Trueman, Trevor (2010)
Ethiopia exports more than coffee: Oromo refugees, fear and destitution in Kenya. Oromo Relief Association
UK and Oromia Support Group. London. December 2010. p.56.
55

Nairobi,
392
and I have received many reports of harassment and intimidation of Oromo
refugees by such agents.
393

44.iii. The refoulement back to Ethiopia of five Oromo UN-registered refugees from Kenya
has been engineered by Ethiopian agents: one was refouled from Hagadera refugee camp in
2001, two from Nairobi in 2007 and two from Nairobi in 2008. Three other refugees,
awaiting status determination by UNHCR, are believed by their friends to have been similarly
abducted from Nairobi, in August 2010.
394


Monitoring at schools and universities

45.i. In 2011, the State Department wrote, as in earlier reports: The government restricted
academic freedom during the year. Authorities did not permit teachers at any level to deviate
from official lesson plans and actively prohibited partisan political activity and association of
any kind on university campuses . . . Speech, expression, and assembly were frequently
restricted.
395
The 2010 reported stated Frequent reports continued of uniformed and
plainclothes police officers on and around university and high school campuses.
396
The
report written in 2009 stated that professors were not allowed to espouse political
sentiments.
397

45.ii. The Advocates in Minnesota wrote that the security forces at schools and universities
acted as a brake on student activism. They also received accounts from former students that
undercover security agents and students who double as informants continue to harass
students, especially Oromos, on campus. They were told some students were recruited to
report whatever they overhear.
398

45.iii. Teachers are encouraged and coerced to inform on their students; to report who they
associate with and what they discuss together, the presence of any incriminating drawings or
notes in their exercise books, and even symbols or initials scratched on their desks. Teachers
who refuse to comply face being transferred to remote schools away from their families.
399


392
McCrummen 2007. Op. Cit.
393
For example, Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. pp.3-4, 5, 6, 9, 19 and 27.
394
Ibid. pp.43-45.
395
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
396
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
397
US State Department (2009) 2008 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 25 February 2009. Section 2.a.
398
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.59.
399
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.24-25.
56

45.iv. Also, teachers are spied upon by their students. The Advocates were told students are
paid to report on teachers and what they are saying.
400
Human Rights Watch reported that
students at a training college were told to form a student council that was part of the
intelligence arm of the government, and were assigned to spy on teachers.
401


Centralised records

46.i. Gnter Schrder, an expert on the Ethiopian security system,
402
wrote in September
2007 Starting in 1997, the Ethiopian security and intelligence services embarked on an
ambitious, extensive, and expensive program of computerisation of its files and operations.
This program is still going on. As part of it, many older files were digitalised and are now
electronically accessible. The security services and their regional branches apparently are
now fully networked and they are also networked with the various national and regional
police offices, the ministries and the Ethiopian diplomatic missions.
403

46.ii. I agree with Schrder that a central recording system of OLF suspects exists in
Ethiopia which is also networked outside the country. At an Asylum and Immigration
Tribunal hearing in 2005 (HA),
404
a relatively sophisticated central recording system of
OLF suspects was deemed to exist.
46.iii. Although the Country Guidance decision in 2007 (MB)
405
did not find the system
was sufficiently developed to pick up OLF suspects entering Addis Ababa airport (with
which I strongly disagree), the Tribunal found that those with a significant history of OLF
membership or sympathy known to the authorities and those who have been detained on that
basis are at real risk in Ethiopia. This can only be possible if central records exist.

Monitoring communications

47.i. The US State Department reported in 2011 All but three electronic communications
facilities are state owned. Opposition political party leaders reported suspicions of telephone
tapping and other electronic eavesdropping. In May 2009 a former employee of Ethiopian

400
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.59.
401
Human Rights Watch (2010d) Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in
Ethiopia. New York. October 2010. p.55.
402
See footnote 19 on p.3 for information on Gnter Schrder.
403
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 297.
404
UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (2005). HA (OLF members and sympathisers risk) Ethiopia [2005]
UKAIT 00136.
405
UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (2007). MB (OLF and MTA risk) Ethiopia CG [2007] UKAIT
00030.
57

Telecommunication Corporation (ETC), the state-run monopoly telecommunications and
Internet provider, reported from self-imposed exile that the government had ordered ETC
employees to unlawfully record citizens private telephone conversations. The Committee to
Protect Journalists reported that mail to a major independent newspaper had been opened or
destroyed.
406

47.ii. A perception among refugees in Minnesota that all communications by phone, post,
or email are monitored by the government is nearly universal.
407
Nearly everyone
interviewed spoke of phone lines being tapped, e-mail exchanges being delayed by several
days and carefully monitored, the need to communicate in code with family members, and the
general sense that conversations in Ethiopia are never private.
408

47.iii. There is further evidence of this monitoring: Some Oromos have been asked about
the particulars of their phone conversations while in prison and some Oromos who have
been imprisoned were given copies of their own e-mail correspondence.
409


Ensuring compliance

48.i. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2010 over many years the ruling EPRDF has pursued
a carrot-and-stick strategy to effectively limit the ability of independent voices to peacefully
express their views. The carrot offered by local officials is access to jobs and government-
controlled resources and services to encourage people into joining the ruling party. This
approach encourages dependency on the government for people struggling for social and
economic survival. As for the stick, government officials and EPRDF supporters use threats,
harassment, and the cutting off of government resources to single out those individuals who
support the opposition, fail to support the ruling party, or for whatever reason otherwise step
out of line.
410

48.ii. Simply refusing to join the ruling party is enough to be branded a dissident.
411
In
2005, Several detainees told Human Rights Watch that police and Woreda officials
repeatedly told them that the only way to prove they werent involved with the OLF was to
become a member of the ruling OPDO.
412
A prominent Oromo academic told them OPDO

406
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.f.
407
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.1.
408
Ibid. pp.43-45.
409
Ibid.
410
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.22.
411
Human Rights Watch 2010d. Op. cit. p.57.
412
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.22.
58

officials feel that if you are not with them then you are their enemy. If you are not OPDO,
you are OLF, and if you are OLF you are a terrorist and a criminal.
413

48.iii. Civilians are coerced into showing support for the government. The State Department
wrote in 2011 Officials in some kebeles reportedly went from house to house demanding
that residents attend ruling coalition meetings. . . . some persons who did not attend party
meetings had difficulty obtaining basic public services from their kebeles. Reliable reports
establish that unemployed youth who were not affiliated with the ruling coalition sometimes
had trouble receiving support letters from their kebeles necessary to get jobs.
414

48.iv. Human Rights Watch wrote in 2007 that in addition to being denied fertilizer and
other agricultural aids, Farmers who were deemed politically unreliable were subject to
imprisonment for debt or eviction from their farms.
415

48.v. This is corroborated in The Advocates report from refugees in Minnesota in 2009. An
Oromo educator told them that Oromo were forced to join peasant (kebele) associations to
show allegiance to the government and said They have meetings, issue propaganda, charge
taxes, brainwash the peasants, report on OLF activities, and so on. These organizations are
put together to monitor and control the people. If a peasant doesnt join such an organization,
they can lose their land.
416


49.i. In 2011, the State Department continued to report coercion of opposition party
supporters to join the government party. Membership in the EPRDF conferred advantages
upon its members . . . There were frequent reports that local authorities told opposition
members to renounce their party membership and become EPRDF members if they wanted
access to subsidized seeds and fertilizer; food relief; civil service job assignment, promotion
or retention; student university assignment and postgraduate employment; and other benefits
controlled by the government.
417
Threats of land redistribution and forced resettlement have
also been used to garner support for the government party.
418

49.ii. Amnesty International reported in 2011 State resources, assistance and opportunities
were used repeatedly before Mays elections as leverage to pressure citizens to leave

413
Ibid. p.12.
414
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.f.
415
Human Rights Watch World Report 2007. Events of 2006: Ethiopia. Continuing Abuses in the Countryside.
10 January 2007.
416
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.42.
417
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
418
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 1.f.
59

opposition parties. Education opportunities, civil service jobs and food assistance were often
contingent on membership of the ruling party. Immediately prior to the election, voters in
Addis Ababa were reportedly threatened with the withdrawal of state assistance if they did
not vote for the EPRDF.
419

49.iii. Families with a history of suspected involvement with the OLF have especial
difficulties making a living. Fear of retribution and guilt by association results in relatives,
friends and neighbours avoiding them. They become isolated. Many reported to Human
Rights Watch in 2005 that they and their families were forced out of business altogether.
420


50.i. Human Rights Watch corroborated and added to the list of coercive tactics used by
the government in the 2010 report One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure: Kebele officials
determine eligibility for food assistance, recommend referrals to secondary health care and
schools, and provide access to state-distributed resources like seeds, fertilizers, and other
essential agricultural inputs.
421
The kebele officials also control credit schemes
422
and run
the community social courts, which deal with minor claims and disputes at the kebele level;
local prisons; and, in some places, local-level militia that are used to maintain law and
order.
423

50.ii. The Advocates amplified on the role of kebele officials. As well as distributing
fertilizer to farmers on credit, they collect debts when due, issue binding decisions in local
disputes, and imprison those who fail to repay their fertilizer debt on time.
424

50.iii. Food aid is denied to those who voted for opposition parties in 2008 and people
reported to Human Rights Watch that they paid for membership of the EPRDF in order to
receive relief assistance.
425

50.iv. Academics from Norway reported in 2009 on these and other incentives, including
microcredit programmes to attract young members, and pressure on government employees
who were told that rejection of membership in the party would endanger their employment or
lead to involuntary deployment in peripheral areas. Memories of the harsh measures taken
against the post-election protesters in 2005 were also contributing; they demonstrated that

419
Amnesty International 2011. Op. cit. Pre-election violence and repression.
420
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.20-21 and 38.
421
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.2.
422
Ibid. p.17.
423
Ibid. p.2.
424
The Advocates. Op. cit. p.65.
425
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.27.
60

opposition leaders and supporters would pay dearly if they seriously challenged the
EPRDF.
426

50.v. Pressure to conform is also felt by local officials: The kebele and woreda structures
remain the key institutions for controlling local communities and are the main service
providers. For members of the local councils, re-election is a matter of keeping their daily
bread; and for new candidates, membership in one of the councils is viewed as a way of
getting access to scarce state resources.
427


51.i. Human Rights Watch reported that in connection with the 2010 elections, voters were
subject to more coercion: During April and May officials and militia from local
administrations went house to house telling residents to register to vote and to vote for the
ruling party or face reprisals from local party officials, such as bureaucratic harassment or
losing their homes or jobs.
428

51.ii. There was even government interference in the process of registering as a voter, at
least in the 2008 local elections. School students of voting age were prevented from
registering to vote unless they produced letters from their gott/garee representatives attesting
that they did not belong to any opposition party.
429

51.iii. In November 2008, the OLF reported that business licences and tax regimes favoured
OPDO members.
430
Government services which were dependent on party support also
included provision of ID cards and teacher training. Loyalty to the regime in order to access
these, agricultural supplies and food for work programmes is central policy which is
transmitted to the lowest level of the administration wrote Human Rights Watch.
431
They
concluded the government is systematically using government services as a tool of
repression.
432


Coercion at schools and universities

52.i. Special efforts are made to ensure that students and teachers toe the party line. The
Advocates wrote in 2009 Oromo teachers and students face harassment and intimidation on

426
Aalen and Tronvoll 2009a. Op. cit. p.115.
427
Ibid. pp.116-117.
428
Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. The 2010 Elections.
429
Human Rights Watch 2008a. Op. cit.
430
OLF News. 7 November 2008. http://oromiaonline.com/
431
Human Rights Watch 2010d. Op. cit. pp.66-68 and 89.
432
Ibid. p.89.
61

suspicion of association with the OLF. Reports of monitoring, termination, or arrest of
Oromo teachers and students were common.
433
Although the State Department has omitted
reporting The government arrested students and teachers during the year since its report for
2007,
434
it continues to describe the sacking of teachers who belong to opposition parties
435

and coercive measures used on students and teachers.
52.ii. In 2011, the State Department wrote Some college students reportedly were
pressured to pledge allegiance to the EPRDF to secure enrollment in universities . . .
436

corroborating claims made by the OLF in 2008.
437
Professor Abbink, in 2009, reported that
the ruling party, rather than a university, now selects graduates for MA and PhD
programmes.
438

52.iii. Dismissal from school and denial of qualifications are also reported. Former OFDM
MP, Dr Getachew Jigi, wrote from exile in 2006 Oromo students who voted for us are being
killed, dismissed from schools without any reasons. Dozens were refused their university
certificates.
439


53.i. Regarding teachers, in 2011 the State Department wrote Innumerable anecdotal
reports suggest that non-EPRDF members were reportedly more likely to be transferred to
undesirable posts, and to be bypassed for promotions. There was a lack of transparency in
academic staffing decisions, with numerous complaints . . . of bias based on party
membership, ethnicity, or religion. . . . Several teachers who were members of, or perceived
to support, opposition parties - particularly in Oromiya, Tigray, Amhara, and the SNNPR -
reported being harassed by local officials and threatened with the loss of their jobs or
transfers to distant locations.
440

53.ii. The requirement of party membership for teachers to be accepted for higher education
training programmes was also reported by Human Rights Watch, as was the forcing of

433
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.2.
434
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
435
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
436
Ibid. Section 2.a.
437
OLF News. 7 November 2008. http://oromiaonline.com/
438
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.17.
439
Jigi, Getachew (2006) Press Release. Ethiopian MP urges opposition unity, world to play positive role.
Sudan Tribune, 11 November 2006. www.theworldpress.com/press/worldpress/sudanpress/sudantribune.htm
440
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
62

teachers to contribute to the government teachers union and the need to be a paid up
government party member to be considered for important posts.
441


Coercion elsewhere in the civil service and business sector

54.i. Graduates complained that they can hardly find a job in public service or party-
affiliated companies if they are not a member of the ruling party.
442
Post-graduate jobs in
government depend on allegiance to EPRDF parties
443
and civil servants are told they will be
sacked if they fail to support government parties or if they support any opposition party.
444

Promotion within the civil service depends on loyalty to EPRDF parties.
445

54.ii. According to Human Rights Watch field research, Business Process Re-engineering
a donor-supported government programme, is being used as a political weapon to dismiss
dissident civil servants
446
and trainee judges have been dismissed for not belonging to the
ruling party.
447

54.iii. Coercion extends into the business sector. The State Department wrote in 2011 the
party directly owned many businesses and was broadly perceived to award jobs and business
contracts to loyal supporters.
448


Political parties

Persecution of legal opposition

55.i. Opposition party candidates, members, supporters and potential voters are killed,
tortured, beaten and detained without charge. State Department reports up to 2010 included
numerous reports of intimidation, harassment, abuse, and detention of opposition candidates
and their supporters.
449

55.ii. The State Department reported that, in 2007, approximately 450 UEDF and OFDM
party members were detained without charge or trial and there were many complaints . . .
that government militias beat and detained their supporters without charge for participating in

441
Human Rights Watch 2010d. Op. cit. p.55-57.
442
Abbink 2009. Op. cit. p.17.
443
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.a.
444
Ibid. Section 3; Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. The 2010 Elections; Human Rights Watch 2008a. Op.
cit.
445
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
446
Human Rights Watch 2010d. Op. cit. pp.58-62.
447
Ibid. pp.63-65.
448
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
449
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 3.
63

opposition party rallies.
450
Members of CUD, OFDM, UEDF and ONC parties were beaten
and detained;
451
a CUD activist was beaten and shot dead; an ONC/UEDF member was shot
dead and an Ethiopian Democratic Party member was tortured to death.
452
Human Rights
Watch reported that OFDM members were among more than 200 arrested and held in
western Oromia Region that year, some in defiance of court orders to release them.
453

55.iii. Human Rights Watch reported that in the run-up to the 2008 local elections, party
officials cooperated across all tiers of local government and systematically targeted
opposition candidates for violence, intimidation, and other human rights abuses and
[p]rospective voters who might support the opposition have been similarly targeted. Many
candidates were prevented from registering. One was detained and threatened with being shot
using a gun inserted into his mouth. Many OFDM members were detained and accused of
belonging to the OLF. The home and crops of one member were burned. The Oromo
Peoples Congress (OPC) listed 300 members detained often on the basis of alleged links to
the OLF.
454
The State Department reported the arrest of seven OPC candidates in March, on
charges of inciting violence at a school demonstration (paragraph 39.xvi., above).
455

55.iv. After the elections in 2008, an AEUP supporter was killed
456
and the hundreds of
political detainees included the OFDM Secretary General Bekele Jirata and Lema Merga,
Secretary General of the SW Showa branch of the OPC. Jirata was charged with recruiting
and organizing OLF members, promoting OLF terrorist activities, and financially supporting
the OLF.
457
Birtukan Mideksa, the leader of the CUD, was rearrested at the end of 2008.
458

55.v. Those arrested in late 2008 included 16 second-tier leaders from various opposition
parties who were charged with OLF-related terrorist offences. Many, including Bekele Jirata
(who was exiled and tried in absentia) were among 15 found guilty in March 2010 and given
long prison terms.
459

55.vi. During 2009, reported the State Department, Opposition political party leaders
reported frequent and systematic abuse and intimidation of their supporters by police and

450
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
451
Ibid. Sections 1.c., 1.d. and 2.b.
452
Ibid. Section 1.a.
453
Human Rights Watch 2008b. Op. cit. Abuses in Somali and Oromia States.
454
Human Rights Watch 2008a. Op. cit.
455
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
456
Ibid.
457
US State Department 2009. Op. cit. Section 1.e.
458
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.e.
459
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.e.
64

regional militias.
460
One federal opposition MP fled the country after being harassed, beaten
and tortured and six named members of opposition parties were harassed and beaten.
461

Among numerous credible reports of unlawful detention of opposition candidates and their
supporters there was an intensification of arrests of opposition supporters, especially in the
Oromia and Amhara Regions in September 2009, with over 360 in Oromia Region and 230
in Amhara Region being listed by opposition parties. Several hundred other political
detainees remained in prison at the end of 2009.
462

55.vii. The State Department reported that an environment conducive to free and fair
elections was not in place in the two years prior to the May [2010] elections. The EPRDF
employed advantages of incumbency to restrict political space for opposition candidates and
activists. Citizens rights to join political organisations of their choice were restricted
through bureaucratic obstacles and government and ruling party intimidation, harassment,
and arrests, with physical threats and violence used by local officials and EPRDF operatives,
local police, and shadowy local militias under the control of local EPRDF operatives.
EPRDF parliamentary reforms narrowed the freedom of opposition parties and civil society
organizations to participate in the elections process. Voter education efforts, previously
undertaken by civil society, were taken over exclusively by the NEBE [National Electoral
Board of Ethiopia] . . . The major educational effort . . . to explain to voters, the majority of
whom were illiterate, that they were free to vote for whomever and whichever party they
chose was not undertaken. Overall the EU observed a climate of apprehension and
anxiety, noting that the volume and consistency of complaints of harassment and
intimidation by opposition parties was a matter of concern . . . At the local level, thousands
of opposition activists complained of EPRDF-sponsored mistreatment, ranging from
harassment in submitting candidacy forms to beatings by local militia members . . .
463

55.viii. Attempts by opposition leaders to register candidates were met with intimidation,
physical harassment, beatings, criminal damage to a vehicle and theft of documents by
government forces. Arrests of members were reported by UEDF, UDJ, OFDM, Arena and
OPC opposition parties.
464
Around 1,200 OFDM and OPC members were detained in
association with the May elections and many remained in jail at the end of the year. In

460
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.c.
461
Ibid. Section 3.
462
Ibid. Section 1.e.
463
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
464
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
65

August [2010] several opposition party leaders reported an intensification in the arrest and
detention of opposition supporters, especially in Oromia, Amhara and Tigray.
465

55.ix. An Arena opposition candidate in Tigray was killed in March 2010, after several
weeks of harassment and multiple arrests. An opposition activist died in an Addis Ababa
hospital in April after repeated episodes of harassment and abuse, two weeks after being
severely beaten by local police and militia outside his home in Oromia Region.
466
Two OPC
members were shot in May.
467

55.x. Hundreds of political prisoners remained in jail in 2010 and 2011, at risk of torture
and ill-treatment, according to Human Rights Watch
468
and Amnesty International.
469

55.xi. Human Rights Watch announced that over 200 Oromo were arrested in March 2011,
including at least 68 OFDM members and 40 OPC members.
470
The OPC leader later told
Reuters that more than 80 members had been arrested since mid-March.
471
Former MPs,
candidates, party officials, teachers and students were among those arrested. The government
admitted to holding and charging only 121 under the new terrorism law. Many were
unaccounted for. Opposition party officials told Reuters that they believed the arrests were in
response to the governments perceived insecurity due to the current wave of democratisation
protests in North Africa and the Middle East.
472

55.xii. In a speech in April 2010, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi threatened opposition
leaders with postelection criminal prosecution for unspecified violations of the electoral code
of conduct.
473
In a televised address to parliament on 15 March 2011, he stated that those
arrested that month were terrorists and members of the OLF, who were using legal parties as
a cover. He warned Medrek coalition (which includes OFDM and OPC) party members about
inciting protests. This is a government with many eyes and ears he said It is able to see and
hear thoroughly. Be very careful, you will pay the price.
474



465
Ibid. Section 1.e.
466
Ibid. Section 3.
467
Amnesty International 2011. Op. cit. Pre-election violence and repression.
468
Human Rights Watch 2011a. Op. cit. Introduction.
469
Amnesty International 2010. Op. cit.
470
Human Rights Watch (20011b) Mass Arrests of More Than 200 Ethnic Oromo Appear Politically
Motivated. News Release. London. 6 April 2011.
471
Reuters. Addis Ababa. 7 April 2011.
472
Human Rights Watch 2011b. Op. cit.; Reuters 2011. Op. cit.
473
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
474
Nega, Eskinder (2011) Ethiopia: Meles Zenawis threat against opposition parties. nazret.com 8 April 2011.
Journalist Eskinder Negas press licence was revoked when his publishing house was closed by the government
in 2005 (US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 2.a.).
66

Canvassing, party offices and meetings

56.i. The State Department reported in 2010 Registered political parties must receive
permission from regional governments to open and occupy local offices. There were,
however, widespread reports of opposition parties closing offices due to intimidation and
coercion by local officials,
475
as reported in earlier years
476
and in 2011.
477
UEDF, UDJ,
OFDM, Arena and OPC parties reported the forced closure of their offices throughout the
country in 2010. A common tactic reported was to intimidate landlords into evicting their
political party tenants. . . . the OPC had no more than seven offices [in 2010], down from
more than 100 in 2005.
478
The AEUP had 29 offices [in 2009], down from 280 in 2005.
479

56.ii. The 2010 and 2011 reports described how opposition federal and regional MPs were
discouraged or blocked from visiting their constituencies, or harassed and followed when
there.
480
A federal MP for the OPC visited his constituency in Wallega. Militiamen
reportedly told him that he had no reason to visit the area and threatened to kill him if he
returned. He was harassed and followed by several police and militiamen. Two militiamen
even followed him onto a bus to a nearby town where he was again harassed and followed.
481

56.iii. Authorities often disrupted or unlawfully banned opposition party meetings in 2009,
as they had in previous years.
482
The OPC chairman reported that in 2010 the police in the
Somali region prevented him from holding a rally by dispersing the crowd; and that of 38
events planned at the woreda level, he was able to hold only six.
483
Even when meetings
were not subject to an outright ban, the government threatened hall owners not to rent out
halls to opposition political parties, effectively preventing them from doing so
484
and
[r]egional governments, including the Addis Ababa regional administration, were reluctant
to grant permits or provide security for large meetings.
485

56.iv. Multiple opposition political parties reported EPRDF partisans with cameras at the
entryway of campaign rallies who would film opposition activists while they were entering,
leaving, or participating in meetings. After a meeting the individuals pictured reportedly were

475
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 3.
476
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
477
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
478
Ibid.
479
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 3.
480
US State Department 2010 and 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
481
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 3.
482
Ibid.; US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 3.
483
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 3.
484
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
485
US State Department 2010 and 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
67

harassed and intimidated to discontinue their support for the opposition party; sometimes they
were detained.
486

56.v. Even when a meeting was held, local authorities prevented the party from displaying
posters or announcing it to the public. It was likely to be disrupted and forced to be adjourned
because of noisy disturbances from government party supporters.
487


Purging the government Oromo party

57.i. Dissent within the governing party is met with persecution, sometimes of senior
government figures. For example, Hassen Ali, the former Vice-President of the government
Oromo party, the OPDO, is in exile in the USA following an assassination attempt, and
former Oromia Minister for Capacity Building, Melese Dayessa, fled to Kenya in 2002
because of fear of assassination.
488
I have interviewed three OPDO MPs from the Federal
House of Peoples Representatives who claimed asylum in the UK and Canada after
experiencing persecution or fearing it, because they spoke out against the regime.
57.ii. On 15 March 2011, the diaspora opposition blog, Jimma Times, reported the arrest
and detention of 120 party officials at the annual OPDO conference in the previous week.
Among those arrested on the pretext of corruption, were senior officials from ministries and
half of the cabinet of the Oromia Region government.
489
Two days later, the Jimma Times
reported from an OLF radio broadcast that ten recently arrested OPDO members included
two former federal parliament MPs and two former Oromia Region MPs.
490


Accusations of OLF involvement and terrorism

Indiscriminate charges of OLF support

58.i. The Ethiopian government is officially hostile to the OLF and uses indiscriminate
accusations of involvement with the OLF and terrorism to exert control over and clamp down
on its own Oromo party, legal Oromo opposition parties, the judiciary, civil society and all
aspects of public and private life.
58.ii. Official hostility toward the OLF was made plain by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in

486
US State Department 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
487
US State Department 2010 and 2011. Op. cit. Section 2.b.
488
BBC News Service. 8 May 2002.
489
http://jimmatimes.com 15 March 2011.
490
Ibid. 17 March 2011.
68

a speech to parliament in October 2006, when he stated that his government was at war with
the OLF and its supporters.
491

58.iii. Defecting OPDO MP and deputy chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Belete
Etana, wrote in 2009: If you are an MP, you are liable to ask questions. But if you ask
questions, you are branded as OLF and you are a terrorist and a criminal. . . . the person who
asks the democratic and human rights of the people to be respected is automatically branded
as OLF member, and I am one of the victims.
492

59.i. Prime Minister Zenawi claims that Oromo opposition parties are a front for the
OLF.
493
Professor Clapham noted in 2009 Any political movement or faction that sought to
represent local Oromo aspirations, including elements of the OPDO itself and the two
opposition parties that contested Oromo constituencies in the 2005 elections, was instantly
suspected of association with the Oromo Liberation Front.
494

59.ii. This was also claimed in 2007 by Canadian journalists, after visiting Dembi Dollo in
Wallega, western Oromia Region: the local officials of the ruling party do not distinguish
between political parties like the OFDM and the OLF, which was branded a terrorist
organization by Mr Zenawis administration last year.
495

59.iii. Detention of OFDM and UEDF members on the grounds of their being involved with
the OLF and planning terrorist activity has also been reported by the US State Department,
496

Amnesty International,
497
and fleeing opposition and OPDO MPs and candidates.
498

59.iv. Non-Oromo opposition political party members are detained on similar grounds. For
example, CUD members have been detained and tortured because they were suspected of
supporting the outlawed Ethiopian Patriotic Front.
499


60.i. Any form of defiance of the government by an Oromo is treated with accusations of
support for the OLF. The former President of Oromia Supreme Court, Teshale Aberra,
confirmed at interview that accusation of OLF support is indiscriminate. Any gesture of

491
http://Ethiotribune.com 31 October 2006.
492
Etana 2009. Op. cit.
493
The Reporter newspaper, Addis Ababa. 27 October 2007. Quoted in UNHCR 2009, Country of Origin
Research and Information. Op. cit.(reference 255, p.44, above). p.3; Nega 2011. Op. cit.
494
Clapham 2009. Op. cit. p.188.
495
Alsop, Zoe and Wadhams, Nick (2007) Ethiopia turns its critics into untouchables.The Globe and Mail,
Toronto, 27 June 2007.
496
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
497
Amnesty International 2011. Op. cit. Pre-election violence and repression.
498
Jigi 2006. Op. cit.; Jirata 2010. Op. cit.; Human Rights Watch World Report 2003b. Ethiopia, Human Rights
Developments. New York. January 2003.
499
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 1.c.
69

autonomy, such as his resisting pressure to sack judges who promoted independence of the
judiciary, or his refusing to report on colleagues and neighbours private activities, resulted
in harassment, intimidation and accusation of being an OLF supporter.
500

60.ii. Refusing to become a member of the OPDO or failing to attend peasant association
meetings leads to accusations of OLF support and persecution.
501
After escaping and
avoiding imprisonment, OFDM Secretary General Bekele Jirata wrote in 2010 They are
simply imprisoned because they have rejected to be members of the OPDO/EPRDF or they
have spoken out their mind.
502


61.i. From their interviews with Oromo refugees, The Advocates wrote in 2009 that out of
the many who had been interrogated and tortured because of suspicion of involvement with
OLF almost all had no connection with the OLF.
503

61.ii. Innocent association with a visitor from abroad is enough to attract trouble. The life of
one family was destroyed after they were befriended by a visiting teacher from the USA in
2007 and 2008, and accused of involvement with the OLF.
504
The Advocates gave another
example, of an Oromo who returned to Ethiopia in 2004: in December 2004, around
Christmas, he was celebrating with friends, teachers, and doctors. All of the people who were
with him were arrested the next day on allegations of supporting the OLF.
505

61.iii. Exiled political leader Bekele Jirata summed up the logic used to justify some of the
accusations: Those who have private businesses are accused of providing financial support
to young Oromo fleeing the country; those who travel abroad for . . . [business] are accused
of contacting OLF leaders; those who have trucking businesses are accused of transporting
arms to Oromo fighters; those who are either government or private employees are accused of
providing financial support to the OLF; those who are students are accused of agitating and
organising fellow students against the government; those who are in opposition political
parties are accused of recruiting OLF cadres disguised as party members.
506


500
Oromia Support Group 2007. Op. cit. pp.12-14.
501
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. p.12; Oromia Support Group 2010a. Op. cit. p.11.
502
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
503
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.26-31.
504
An American teacher worked at an Ethiopian university and befriended a family in Wallega in 2007 and
2008. A young man of the family was forced to leave Kenya in late 2008 after several episodes of detention and
beating. His brother and sister were forced to flee in 2010 and their mother was evicted from their house. I
interviewed the teacher in Washington D.C. on 31 July 2010 and the brothers and sister in Nairobi on several
occasions between 7 and 21 September 2010.
505
The Advocates. Op. cit. pp.39-41.
506
Jirata 2010. Op. cit.
70

61.iv. Human Rights Watch have consistently reported the indiscriminate use of accusations
of OLF support to justify persecution. In 2005: the OPDO has used the specter of an ongoing
OLF armed resistance to justify . . . widespread repression . . . Regional government and
security officials routinely accuse dissidents, critics and students of being OLF terrorists or
insurgents. Thousands of Oromo from all walks of life have been targeted for arbitrary
detention, torture and other abuses even when there has been no evidence linking them to the
OLF. Even some apolitical civil society organizations have been treated as subversive threats
to the regime, hampering their ability to operate effectively.
507
Oromo civil society and
community leaders have long complained that allegations of OLF involvement are used as a
thinly veiled pretext to detain government critics and intimidate others into silence.
508

61.v. In 2008, Human Rights Watch wrote Across much of Oromia, local officials have
routinely and for many years used unproven allegations of links to the OLF as a pretext to
subject law-abiding government critics to arbitrary detention, torture, extrajudicial killing,
and other forms of human rights abuse.
509

61.vi. At the end of October 2008, over 100 Oromo were detained in a wave of arrests of
opposition politicians, university lecturers, teachers, journalists and businesspeople, all
accused of being involved with OLF terrorist activities.
510
In March 2010, 14 were
sentenced to long terms in prison and one was sentenced to death.
511


Civil society and terrorism charges

62.i. Criminal charges, including involvement with terrorism, are used to justify
harassment and detention of media professionals and members of civil societies, such as the
Ethiopian Human Rights Council
512
and the Ethiopian Teachers Association.
513
The regime
has even banned the traditional Oromo religion because it suspected that the groups leaders
had close links to the OLF.
514


507
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit. pp.7-11.
508
Ibid. p.12.
509
Human Rights Watch 2008a. Op. cit.
510
Oromo Parliamentarians Council (2008) [exiled opposition MPs under the Chairmanship of Dr Getachew
Jigi] Press Release. Antwerp. 16 November 2008;Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/012/2008.
London. 14 November 2008.
511
Oromo Menschenrechts- und Hilfsorganisation e.V. (2010) Press Release 002/01/2010. Hannover. 4 April
2010.
512
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 1.d.
513
US State Department 2008. Op. cit. Section 1.e.
514
US State Department 2010. Op. cit. Section 2.c.
71

62.ii. Oromo civil societies have been completely destroyed (see above, sections 36 and
37). This has consistently been accomplished on the pretext of opposing terrorism. More than
60 high profile Oromo who were detained and charged with conspiracy in 1997/8 included
board members and officials of civil societies (paragraph 37.i., above), journalists and health
professionals. If convicted, they could have faced the death penalty. Amnesty International
regarded at least some of these as prisoners of conscience.
515

62.iii. Macha-Tulama Association officials, journalists, development organisation
employees and students were detained in 2004 and accused of funding OLF violence. They
were again regarded by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience,
516
as were civilians
who were detained on OLF charges in 2006 and 2007.
517


Terrorism legislation

63.i. In July 2009, the Ethiopian parliament passed the Anti-terrorism Proclamation.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International warned that its overly broad definition of
terrorism
518
and vague definition of acts of terrorism
519
could encompass legitimate
expressions of dissent
520
and political protest.
521
The State Department too wrote of
concerns over the laws broad definition of terrorism, severe penalties, broad rules of
evidence, and discretionary powers afforded police and security forces.
522

63.ii. The UN Special Rapporteurs on torture and human rights reported that the bill was
used to justify arrest and mistreatment of civilians in the Ogaden in 2007, before it was even
enacted.
523
The UN Special Representative on human rights defenders reported that anti-
terrorist measures were used to repress peaceful civil protest and human rights defenders.
524

63.iii. The Proclamation restricted freedom of expression and interfered with the right to
peaceful assembly and a fair trial, according to Amnesty International.
525
Human Rights

515
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/17/98. London. 15 May 1998.
516
Amnesty International. Urgent Action, AFR 25/006/2004. London. 21 May 2004.
517
Amnesty International (2007) Report 2007. Ethiopia. London. 2007; Amnesty International. Urgent Action,
AFR 25/030/2007. London. 11 December 2007.
518
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.50.
519
Amnesty International 2010. Op. cit.
520
Ibid.
521
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.50.
522
US State Department 2010 and 2011. Op. cit. Section 1.e.
523
UN Human Rights Council 2009. Op. cit. Paragraph 64.
524
Ibid. Paragraph 24.
525
Amnesty International 2010 and 2011. Op. cit.
72

Watch wrote that journalists who merely referred to the OLF or ONLF in their articles could
be prosecuted for promoting terrorism under the bill.
526


Acts of terrorism: bombings and landmines

64.i. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told parliament in October 2008 that the OLF were
responsible for bombings in Addis Ababa in April and May of that year but the State
Department wrote that no credible evidence was presented to verify the claim.
527

64.ii. The government blamed the OLF for the bombing of the Tigray Hotel in Addis Ababa
in September 2002 and arrested hundreds, including many students. The OLF denied
involvement,
528
and claimed the bombing was carried out by government forces. In
September 2003, the government blamed the OLF for bombing a train in Dire Dawa, which
was again denied by the OLF.
529

64.iii. When hand grenades were detonated during student protests in 2004, in Addis Ababa,
Bishoftu, Waliso, Dilla and Ambo, the OLF was again blamed.
530
A former policeman later
reported to the Oromia Support Group that he and two other policemen were instructed by
their commanding officer to execute the grenade attack at Ambo.
531


65.i. The OLF claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Dire Dawa railway depot as a
legitimate military target on 24 June 2002, where no civilians were killed. According to the
State Department, the OLF claimed responsibility for several landmine explosions along the
railway between Addis Ababa and Djibouti in 2000, resulting in 5-15 civilian deaths, but
OLF responsibility could not be confirmed.
532

65.ii. The US State Department wrote that the OLF and ONLF regularly used landmines
in its reports covering 2000-2002
533
and that these were responsible for numerous civilian

526
Human Rights Watch 2010a. Op. cit. p.50.
527
US State Department 2009. Op. cit. Section 1.g.
528
US State Department (2003) 2002 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 31 March 2003. Section 1.d; Bhalla,
Nita (2002) Ethiopia links blast to Oromo rebels BBC News. Addis Ababa. 2 October 2002.
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2293185.stm
529
IRIN News, the UN News Agency, 29 September 2003.
530
Oromia Support Group 2004. Op. cit. pp.5-11; US State Department (2005) 2004 Human Rights Reports:
Ethiopia. 28 February 2005. Section 1.c; Oromia Support Group 2008. Op. cit. p.20.
531
Oromia Support Group 2008. Op. cit. p.20.
532
US State Department (2001) 2000 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 23 February 2001. Section 1.a.
533
US State Department 2001 and 2003. Op. cit. and (2002) 2001 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 4 March
2002. Section 1.a. in each report.
73

deaths,
534
and killing between 2-5 people per month.
535
There were no specific allegations of
OLF involvement except in the report for 2000, which stated that in one of the attacks on the
railway line to Djibouti (the blowing up of a freight train near Adama (Nazareth) in the
summer of 2000, in which two people were killed) observers believed the OLF laid the
landmine responsible.
536

65.iii. OLF fighters and commanders have informed me that landmines were used up to
1997 or 1998. Mines were placed on roads to military camps and removed if they failed to hit
their target, to avoid civilian casualties and because there were in short supply. I was told of
one accidental civilian death, a truck driver in Wallega, in or around 1997.
537


Immigration authority claims of terrorism

66.i. The British Home Office and US Citizenship and Immigration Services have
sometimes refused asylum to applicants on the grounds of their membership of the OLF,
referring to the OLF as a terrorist organisation. Out of 137 refusals of Oromo asylum-seekers,
audited between 2000 and 2008, Home Office Reasons for Refusal letters in 28 cases referred
to the OLF as a terrorist organisation and stated that lawful interest in those suspected of
involvement was therefore justified, being prosecution rather than persecution.
538

66.ii. However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not regard the OLF as a
terrorist organisation.
539

66.iii. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services started denying green cards to OLF
members in December 2007 because they were included in groups which aimed to topple
their governments. The very, very broad definition of undesignated terrorist organisations
included US allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Deputy Director of the Citizenship and
Immigration Services, Jonathan Scharfen, told the Washington Post in March 2008 that the
denial of green cards to those belonging to these groups, including the OLF, was being
suspended while more logical, common-sense rules were made.
540


534
US State Department 2002. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
535
US State Department 2001. Op. cit. Section 1.a.
536
Ibid.
537
Personal communication with former military leader in western front of the OLF, December 2009.
538
Trueman 2009. Op. cit. pp.287-288.
539
Personal communication with several officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including Dr
Cedric Barnes, Senior Research Analyst, Africa Research Group and Jacob Halpin, Ethiopia Desk Officer, on 12
March 2010.
540
DeYoung, Karen (2008) Staff Writer, Washington Post. 27 March 2008. p.A01.
74

66.iv. The Advocates in Minnesota wrote in 2009 Although the United States has not
designated the OLF as a terrorist organization, members and supporters of the OLF
increasingly find themselves barred from asylum in or immigration to the United States based
on a broad interpretation of the U.S. laws defining material support to terrorist organizations.
Following changes to U.S. law in the REAL ID Act of 2005, the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security began applying a sweeping interpretation of what constitutes terrorist
activity, a terrorist organization, and material support to a terrorist organization. In its
report on the impact of the U.S. governments new interpretation of the terrorist bars on
refugees and asylum seekers, Human Rights First notes that virtually all Ethiopian and
Eritrean political parties and movements, past and present have been found to be Tier III
terrorist organizations.
541

66.v. In September 2010, I spoke to two refugees in Kenya who had been refused
resettlement to the USA on the grounds of having provided material support to a terrorist
organisation and was told of at least five more cases. Although this practice was perceived to
be decreasing in frequency and I was not told of refusals on these grounds during the
preceding year, refugees and their representatives still believed it was a possibility.
542

66.vi. However, the OLF office remains open in Washington D.C. and the OLF is allowed
to raise funds in the USA. Academics and officials in the State Department assert that the
OLF is not regarded as a terrorist organisation in America. Terrence Lyons, former
Brookings Institute staff member, Associate Professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis
and Resolution and Co-Director, Centre for Global Studies, George Mason University,
Washington, wrote in 2009 In 2008, Washington urged talks between . . . the Ethiopian
government and the OLF and ONLF. While Addis Ababa regularly labels both movements as
terrorist, Washington has not.
543

66.vii. Ethiopia desk officers and the Office of Analysis for Africa in the US State
Department report that the US government does not regard the OLF as a terrorist group.
544





541
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. p.12.
542
Trueman 2010. Op. cit. pp.37-38.
543
Lyons, Terrence (2009) The Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict and the search for peace in the Horn of Africa.
Review of African Political Economy, 36:120, 167-180. p.177.
544
Personal communications with Giani Paz (2001 and 2002) and Dr Jared Banks (2003), Horn of Africa Desk
Officers, Bureau for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor, and Tom Ofcansky, Office of Analysis for Africa
(2004 et seq.), US State Department.
75

Outside Ethiopia

Leaving Ethiopia

67.i. Most asylum-seekers who travel from Ethiopia to Britain or the USA, do so with the
help of a paid agent who holds and keeps the illegal documentation and does most, if not all,
of the talking to immigration officials. Of the 200 asylum applicants known to me between
2000 and 2008 who had travelled to Britain, the method of travel was known in 169 cases.
An agent was reportedly used in 151 of these 169 cases. Most of these 151 travelled by air
from Addis Ababa. In the last four of five years, an increasing number have flown from
Nairobi and some from Khartoum. A small number have travelled by land and sea from
Sudan.
67.ii. Many of the 151 travelling with people smugglers were unaware of their final
destination or believed they were travelling to the USA. They were kept under strict control
because of their agents fear of discovery. There is no possibility that they could have
claimed asylum en route, while in the company of their agents.
67.iii. Those travelling without an agent did so as house servants, as employees of the
Ethiopian embassy, Ethiopian Shipping Lines or Ethiopian Airlines, as delegates to
conferences, or as competing athletes or students on educational courses.
67.iv. Since 2004, I have been asked to comment on asylum applications of four women
(three in the UK) who had been employed as domestic servants as a means of escaping
persecution in Ethiopia. They were employed by families in Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi
Arabia. Three reported their employers made visa applications on their behalf and held their
passports. The three who came to the UK, in 2002, 2005 and 2008, reported being physically
abused and two were sexually harassed by their employers. Reuters and Human Rights Watch
have reported the physical and sexual abuse of domestic servants in the Middle East and that
many are driven to suicide.
545
The State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2010
states Ethiopian women in the Middle East face severe abuses, including physical and sexual
assault, denial of salary, sleep deprivation, confinement, incarceration, and murder. Many are
driven to despair and mental illness, some commit suicide.
546


545
Reuters reports from Lebanon, 26 August and 18 December 2008; Human Rights Watch (2008d) Lebanon:
Migrant Domestic Workers Dying Every Week. News Report. Beirut. 26 August 2008. In the annex to the
Human Rights Watch report, the deaths of 95 women servants from January 2007 to August 2008 were
recorded. 63 were Ethiopian. 35 of these were known to have committed suicide and another 16 died after
falling from high buildings.
546
US State Department (2010) Trafficking in Persons Report 2010. Ethiopia (p.144) 14 June 2010.
76

Cultural differences and difficulties in case presentation

68.i. From over 130 interviews with Ethiopian victims of human rights violations and from
other conversations and interviews with Ethiopians, in Ethiopia, Kenya, Europe and North
America, I have found that the Ethiopian mode of presenting information is fundamentally
different to that used by Europeans and Americans. Gnter Schrder has also noted this
547

and regards it as a legacy of the predominantly oral culture in Ethiopia.
68.ii. Whereas in western discourse it is expected that events will be described in
chronological order and considerable importance is attached to dates and times of events, this
is not so in discourse with Oromo and other people from Ethiopia. Scant attention is given to
times and dates. Salient information may be given in order of importance or effect. This
cultural disregard for accurate dating exacerbates difficulties due to improbable expectations
of perfect recall of some immigration caseworkers and judges.
548

68.iii. Further difficulties arise in accurately transcribing dates between Ethiopian and
Gregorian Calendars. Errors are extremely common, especially in interviews via a translator.
There are 13 months in the Ethiopian Calendar and a confusing relationship of Leap Years
between the two calendars. None of the months coincide with those of the other calendar. The
Ethiopian year begins on 11 or 12 September of the Gregorian Calendar and is seven or eight
years behind, according to the month concerned.
68.iv. In November 2007, I searched three websites for the equivalent date in the Ethiopian
Calendar to 11 November 2007 in the Gregorian Calendar. According to a Japanese date
conversion site
549
it was 1 Hidar. An Ethiopian website
550
stated it was 4 Hidar. According
to Wikipedia
551
it was 3 Hidar. The Wikipedia site claimed that the beginning of the
Ethiopian year (1 Meskerem) is equivalent to 11 September, Gregorian Calendar, except in
Leap Years, when it is 12 September. The Ethiopian site claimed the year began on 12
September in the year before a Leap Year. Another source of confusion is when dates are
given as digits, for example 3.11.88 Ethiopian Calendar. Despite the year being that of the
Ethiopian Calendar, the day and month are sometimes interpreted as being Ethiopian 3
rd


547
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 147. See footnote 19 on p.3 for information on Gnter Schrder.
548
Cohen, Juliet (2001) Errors of Recall and Credibility: Can Omissions and Discrepancies in Successive
Statements Reasonably be Said to Undermine Credibility of Testimony? Medico-Legal Journal, 69:1, 25-34. Dr
Cohen, head of medical services at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, concludes that
inconsistency in dating and timing events is, if anything, more likely in genuine accounts than in manufactured
ones, which are learnt by rote.
549
funaba.org/en/calendar-conversion.cgi
550
selamta.net/Ethiopian%20Calendar.htm
551
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Calendar
77

Hamle, the eleventh month, equivalent to 4
th
July 1996 in the Gregorian Calendar or
interpreted as on the Gregorian Calendar, 3
rd
November, in which case the year would be
1995.

69.i. Commonly there are terms for which there is no exact translation in English and this
leads to apparent discrepancies in translated accounts. In one example, a young widow was
falsely accused of fabricating her account because it was translated differently on different
occasions, confusing the terms neighbour, friend and relative, for the same Oromo word.
Similarly, English terms may convey different concepts or ideas to an Ethiopian than they do
to a Briton or other European.
69.ii. As Gnter Schrder states, Ethiopians are not culturally trained and experienced in
telling their life stories as Ethiopian cultures place a high premium on keeping personal
details secret. When talking about their personal lives . . . they tend to stick to a limited
presentation and to give further details only when properly prompted by the interviewer
and/or having come to the conclusion that yielding additional information is not harmful to
them.
552

69.iii. In Oromo society, it is traditional for one generation to be less open with adjacent
generations than in western societies. Discussion about personal matters, including sex, is
more common between grandparents and grandchildren than between parents and children. It
is therefore common for individuals to be less aware of details of activities and posts held by
parents than would be normal in the UK. I am aware of examples when scandals and bad
news were kept secret within families much more so than would be the case in the UK.
Detailed information about an individuals OLF activities or even their degree of involvement
with the OLF is often not known by their closest relatives.
69.iv. The high proportion of torture survivors among the Oromo diaspora (see above,
paragraphs 22.x., xv., and xvii.), the correlation of torture with depression, Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder and other serious mental illness,
553
and the associated loss of concentration,
decisiveness and assertiveness, combine with cultural disregard for times and dates and
reticence to disclose anything but essential facts of their history, to make fair decision-
making by immigration caseworkers and judges in Oromo cases very difficult.
69.v. Because their only previous contact with figures of authority may have been

552
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 352.
553
Mills, Edward, et al.(2008) Prevalence of mental disorders and torture among Bhutanese refugees in Nepal:
a systematic review and its policy implications. Medicine, Conflict and Survival, 24:1, 5-15.
78

characterised by beating and torture, some Oromo lack the confidence to give a full and
accurate account of sensitive and confidential features of their histories at their first meeting
with any person. In addition, they will be more likely to give answers which they believe the
interviewer wants to hear, because of their fear of authority.

70.i. Although the OLF has not renounced violence, it is common for its supporters and
members to state that they do not believe in violence but believe in the aims of the OLF.
Often, members will state that the OLF is a non-violent organisation, presumably because it
does not target civilians.
70.ii. During the OLF congress in December 2004, the subject of officially renouncing
violence in order to enter the 2005 elections was seriously considered.
554


Use of the Oromo language

71.i. According to the late Ms Lydia Namarra, OLF representative in London from 2005 to
2011, about 10% of OLF members and supporters are unable to speak the Oromo language,
afaan Oromo or Oromiffa.
555
The Secretary General of the OLF, estimated that 5% of
members were unable to speak the language, when interviewed in 2005.
556
The majority of
OLF members who are not able to speak Oromo are either from urbanised families,
especially those in Addis Ababa, or from areas where the Oromo people have ceased to use
the language because of the abuse and oppression which it attracted.
557
This is particularly so
in Wollo zone (now in Amhara Region).
71.ii. Census data obtained in 1992 for Addis Ababa showed that only 52% of Oromo in the
capital (211,438 out of 406,518) used Oromiffa as their primary language and 29% (119,711)
used it as their second language, leaving more than 18% who spoke no Oromiffa or at best
rudimentary Oromiffa.
558

71.iii. Despite the preservation of Oromo culture and language being a priority for the OLF,

554
Personal communication with three past and present OLF central committee members who attended the
conference.
555
Personal communications with Lydia Namarra on many occasions up to her death in April 2011.
556
Interview with Dawud Ibsa, 26 March 2005, London.
557
Aba Sabaa, Jaraa (1996) Oromo people struggle for independence Green Left Weekly, No. 234. 6 May
1996. Quoted in Re: Light Skin Ruling Ethiopian Elite Posted by oromorality, 6 October 2004, on
www.rastafarispeaks.com
558
The 1992 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Results for Addis Ababa, Volume I, Statistical
Report, TGE, Office of the Population and Housing Census Commission, Central Statistical Authority, August
1995, Addis Ababa, Table 2.8, Population size by Ethnic Group..., Table 2.10: Population size by Mother
Tongue...
79

it cannot refuse support from any Oromo, including those in Addis Ababa, of whom nearly
half do not speak Oromo as their first language. Many meetings of supporters and members
cells, especially in the capital, necessarily take place in Amharic. For the short period when
the OLF were legal and part of the transitional government, from May 1991 to June 1992,
Oromo language classes were organised and well attended. Since then, any Oromo language
classes would be closely scrutinised by the government security apparatus.

Political activity in the diaspora

72.i. In Minnesota, The Advocates wrote in 2009 Diaspora members reported their
perceptions that e-mail communication to Ethiopia was blocked or monitored by the
Ethiopian government, that telephone conversations were similarly monitored, and that the
Ethiopian government monitored the activities of diaspora members using local contacts
referred to by the diaspora as spies. Arrest of Ethiopians who visited the United States and
were suspected of participating in diaspora political activities was reported. While most
people interviewed for this report generally reported feeling safe in the United States, they
did report fear of surveillance and retaliation against family in Ethiopia.
559

72.ii. The presence of undercover civilian spies [in Ethiopia] is so marked that many of the
Oromos living in the Twin Cities reported their belief that people working for the Ethiopian
government are living and operating in Minnesota. . . . One Oromo . . . told The Advocates
that some Ethiopians came to his house in North Minneapolis in order to find out whether it
was an OLF office. Apparently there were rumors circulating in Ethiopia that he was
involved with the OLF and provided shelter to its members. As a result of that encounter, he
has been cautious in his activities, especially during his limited travel to Ethiopia . . .
560

72.iii. Some of The Advocates interviewees were reluctant to give information, fearing it
would get back to the government and cause problems for their families. They described not
discussing anything but generalities in phone calls back home because of monitoring. They
said even e-mail and post is monitored.
561

72.iv. Monitoring of diaspora activity by secret spy agents operating from Ethiopian
embassies is claimed by Ethiopian opposition web sites, based in the USA.
562



559
The Advocates 2009. Op. cit. pp.ii-iii.
560
Ibid. pp.43-45.
561
Ibid.
562
For example, Ethiomedia, 17 June 2006; Nazret, 30 August 2006.
80

73.i. I learned of the filming and documenting of protestors against the Ethiopian
government in host countries from interviews with two former employees of each of the
Ethiopian embassies in London and Washington in the mid-1990s. I was told that Ethiopian
embassy employees are sent to all protests and instructed to identify demonstrators. They or
their agents attend all public meetings of the OLF, Oromo Community organisation, Oromo
Relief Association and the Union of Oromo Students in Europe. One Oromo who acted as an
informant for the Ethiopian embassy in London has corroborated this at interview.
73.ii. The late Ms Lydia Namarra, committee member of the Oromo Community UK, chair
of the Oromo Relief Association and OLF representative in London, reported
563
that the
embassy always sends spies with cameras to our demonstrations and meetings and that she
had successfully asked policemen to prevent non-Oromo Ethiopians taking video films of
demonstrations on two occasions in Downing St.
73.iii. Solicitor Elizabeth Millar wrote of her telephone conversation in 2007 with a 39 year-
old marine engineer, who was a friend of a client of hers. He supported the CUD party and
attended meetings and demonstrations against the Ethiopian government in London. He was
refused asylum and removed to Addis Ababa in January 2007 with two UK security company
escorts. Ms Millar wrote He was held at the airport until some army officers dressed in
civilian clothes came in a Land Rover to fetch him . . . he was taken away to Kalite prison in
the Land Rover where he was subject to a lot of horrible torture. He was told they had
information from the Ethiopian Embassy in London that he had been demonstrating against
the regime and attending meetings of opposition groups while he was in the UK. They had
pictures of him with members of the opposition CUDP at the Head Quarters in London. They
also told him that they knew of his previous opposition history . . .
564


74.i. An internal paper from the Ethiopian government to its embassies in 2006 stated that
a database of members of opposition groups in the diaspora should be kept updated and that
efforts should be made to persuade these opposition supporters to return to Ethiopia, with the
aim of detaining and convicting them.
565


563
Lydia Namarra, Statement in support of asylum seeker A.A., 21 November 2006.
564
Solicitor Elizabeth Millar, report of telephone conversation held on 28 July 2007, in Witness Statement re
Tilahun Bogale Kassa, Home Office Ref: K1150840, Application No. 29696/07 to European Court of Human
Rights, 21 September 2007.
565
Roland Preu, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, No. 233 (Politik), from document made available by Pro Asyl and
Bavarian Refugee Council,10 October 2006.
81

74.ii. Gnter Schrder, an expert on the Ethiopian security system,
566
had also read a copy
of this communication to Ethiopian embassies. He wrote in 2007 that diplomatic missions are
electronically networked to security system data in Ethiopia
567
and that there is a dense
network of operatives and informers also operating within the Ethiopian community in the
UK.
568
He described in detail the establishment of the General Directorate of Ethiopian
Expatriate Affairs within the Foreign Ministry in 2002, in order to increase the monitoring of
activities of the opposition abroad, and reported the tripling of the budget allocation for
external security services from the 1990s to 2006.
569

74.iii. He wrote of strong evidence that after 2001 the Ethiopian intelligence services also
increased the presence abroad of secret operatives posted with embassies and consulates or
placed within diaspora communities. Schrder continued It also substantially increased the
recruitment of informers from the ranks of the diaspora. All these measures taken together led
to a rapidly increasing database on oppositional activities abroad and on the individuals
involved in them. . . .
570

74.iv. [T]hese services abroad showed and still show a marked tendency not to scrutinize
information themselves but to send each and every bit of information gathered to the head
office in Addis Ababa. Therefore, one has to assume that even individuals only peripherally
or just accidentally associated with oppositional activities were dutifully reported back to
Addis Ababa and most likely entered there into the growing database of the intelligence
services.
571


Union of Oromo Students in Europe

75.i. The Union of Oromo Students in Europe is better known among Oromo as TBOA
Tokkuma Bartoota Oromoo Awuroopaa. It is a political organisation that was founded and
functions according to the political programs and political ideals of the OLF. TBOA and its
members are well known to the Ethiopian government,
572
because it is the oldest and
strongest of the movements and organisations which support the OLF.

566
See footnote 19 on p.3 for information on Gnter Schrder.
567
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraph 297.
568
Ibid. Conclusion.
569
Ibid. Paragraphs 319-320.
570
Ibid. Paragraph 320.
571
Ibid.
572
A former central committee member of the EPRDF, ex-President of Ethiopia Dr Negasso Gidada, was an
OLF member and the OLF representative in Germany from 1975 to 1980 before joining the OPDO in 1991. He
was one of the first chairmen of TBOA after its formation in 1974.
82

75.ii. Because of its importance as the OLF mass organisation in Europe, TBOA was
closely monitored and infiltrated by the EPRDF after 1991. The intensity of this monitoring
increased after the Ethio-Eritrean war began in 1998, according to Schrder.
573


Fate of returnees to Ethiopia

76.i. Gnter Schrder reports immigration offices at the Ethiopian international airports
carefully screen all arrivals, whether the security or police is looking for them for alleged
common law or political offences. In the past the immigration officers at these airports had
long lists of wanted persons . . . Today these checks are done electronically, much faster but
also more exhaustive.
574

76.ii. In September 1998, two Oromo were returned from Germany after failing to gain
asylum. According to Oromo contacts in Germany, in 2001, these two were living
unmolested in a rural area of Ethiopia.
76.iii. However, I am aware of seven returnees to Ethiopia who have been detained on
arrival: one voluntarily returned from Germany; another from Norway; a third was detained
after voluntarily returning from Germany and again when deported from the USA; at least
two deportees from the UK were detained in 2005-2006; one was detained when deported in
2007 and another on removal from the UK in 2008. The treatment of these men in detention
is known in only three cases. Each of them was tortured.
76.iv. An Oromo employee of Ethiopian Airlines, although a supporter of the OLF during
the transitional government period of 1991 to 1992, had not been detained in the round-up of
OLF supporters and members in late 1992 and 1993. He travelled to Germany and returned
voluntarily to Ethiopia in 1995. He was immediately detained and held for 23 days, during
which time he was tortured, because of suspected contact with Oromo students while he was
in Germany. He was forced to flee to the USA in July 2004 because of continued persecution
of himself and his family.
76.v. Professor of History at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Mohammed Hassen Ali,
reported to me personally on 22 November 2007 that a relative of his wife, an Oromo in his
late forties from Galamso, East Hararge, who had been resident in Norway, returned
voluntarily to Ethiopia in late October 2007. He was arrested on arrival because he was
known to have come from Galamso, an area where support for the OLF is strong. It was only

573
Schrder 2007. Op. cit. Paragraphs 137-139 and 142.
574
Ibid. Paragraph 328.
83

because of the efforts of several wealthy and influential Oromo that he was released from
detention after two or three weeks and deported back to Norway. No details of his treatment
in detention were given.
76.vi. A former student activist in the Union of Oromo Students in Europe when in
Germany, was detained for two weeks after returning to Ethiopia in 1998, when 30 years old.
He then fled to the USA but was refused asylum and deported from there in 2003. He was
detained on arrival and held for three months at the Third Police Station (Maikelawi CID) in
Addis Ababa. During this detention he was tortured by immersion in water and by being
forced to walk on his knees on gravel. He fled again and applied for asylum in the UK in
2004.
76.vii. An employee of Ethiopian Shipping Lines was among at least four Oromo who were
deported from Britain to Ethiopia in 2005 and 2006, after failing to obtain political asylum.
The Ethiopian Shipping Lines employee is known to have been detained in Karchale Central
Prison in Addis Ababa on his arrival in 2005. He smuggled a letter out to a friend who lives
in London, reporting his detention.
76.viii. The fate of the other three returnees is not known in detail. One is reported to have
disappeared from Addis Ababa airport on arrival in March 2006. Waiting relatives reported
that he was not seen to leave the plane. His relatives contacted the Oromo Relief Association
office in London repeatedly during 2007 and 2008 asking for information about his
whereabouts.
575

76.ix. The detention and torture of a CUD supporter, who was denied asylum in the UK and
forcibly removed to Ethiopia in January 2007, was reported by solicitor Elizabeth Millar (see
above, paragraph 73.iii.). Ms Millar wrote in her Witness Statement that he was taken from
the airport to Kaliti prison, where he was held for three months and was so badly tortured
that the prison authorities transferred him to a military hospital where he was watched over
by a soldier day and night. They had beaten the soles of his feet, had injured his legs and his
left arm was broken and badly damaged. The torturers used butts of guns and wires among
other things. After his uncle paid a bribe he was transferred to a civilian hospital. He
eventually obtained a false passport and got work on a ship based in Dubai. Following his
phone call to Ms Millar, he sent her copies of his prison identity card and police hospital
medical report, copies of which were sent to me.

575
Lydia Namarra, Chair of Oromo Relief Association. Statement in support of asylum seeker S.T., 4 April
2006, and personal communication, January 2009.
84

76.x. A 50 year-old Oromo former officer in the Ethiopian army, who was detained from
1991 to 1995 because of his army position, fled to Zimbabwe after being detained again in
1995 for involvement with the OLF. He was active on behalf of the OLF in Zimbabwe and
with the Union of Oromo Students in Europe in the UK, after fleeing Zimbabwe in 2007. His
asylum application was refused and he was deported in October 2008. Despite his absence
from Ethiopia since 1995, he was detained for two weeks on arrival and his release secured
by bribery. Because he feared that telephone communications with me were not secure, he
only implied that he was mistreated in detention but would not give details. On release he
was forced to report to police twice each day and was intimidated and harassed to such an
extent that he fled again, to southern Sudan in February 2009.

77. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the UK and Ethiopia in December
2008, guaranteeing freedom from torture of deportees from the UK, has not been tested to my
knowledge. Ethiopia has failed to abide by its obligations under the UN torture convention
(section 22, my report). The London and Africa Division Directors of Human Rights Watch
wrote to the British Foreign Secretary in September 2009, urging him not to deport
individuals to Ethiopia, relying on the memorandum for their protection. They wrote No
matter how detailed such agreements are, they cannot eliminate the very real risk faced by
people returned to countries including Ethiopia that practice such clandestine, brutal
abuse.
576


UK case law

78.i. Two Asylum and Immigration Tribunal decisions are frequently quoted in Oromo
asylum determinations:
78.ii. HA (OLF members and sympathisers risk) Ethiopia [2005] UKAIT 00136
Two senior immigration judges in 2005 found it is in our view abundantly clear that amongst
the different opposition and dissident parties and groups existing in Ethiopia, the authorities
make a particular priority of targeting those who are members of the OLF or are known OLF
sympathisers. The OLF is committed to armed struggle and does not regard itself as willing
to work within the existing political and parliamentary system. In such circumstances it
would be entirely reasonable to assume that the Ethiopian authorities maintain centralised

576
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/09/17/letter-british-foreign-secretary-ethiopian-deportation-cases
85

records on persons suspected of OLF involvement. The many instances highlighted in the
CIPU [Country Information Profile Unit 2004] and Human Rights Watch report
577
of
repressive action taken against the suspected OLF members and sympathisers strongly
indicate in our view the existence of a centralised and relatively sophisticated system of
record keeping.
78.iii. MB (OLF and MTA risk) Ethiopia CG [2007] UKAIT 00030
This Country Guidance decision found OLF members and sympathisers and those
specifically perceived by the authorities to be such members or sympathisers will in general
be at real risk if they have been previously arrested or detained on suspicion of OLF
involvement. So too will those who have a significant history, known to the authorities, of
OLF membership or sympathy. . . . the Tribunal considers that MTA [Macha-Tulama
Association, see above, paragraphs 37.i-ii.] members will also be at real risk on return if they
have previously been arrested or detained on suspicion of MTA membership and/or of OLF
membership or are known or suspected of membership of the MTA.

Declaration

I, Trevor Trueman declare that:

My intention in providing this report is to help correct decision-making in Oromo and other
Ethiopian asylum cases.

This report is freely available. I have not entered into any arrangement where the payment of
any fee is associated with the use of this report.

I believe that the facts I have stated in this report are true and that the opinions I have
expressed are correct.

I have endeavoured to include in this report those matters, which I have knowledge of, or of
which I have been made aware, that might adversely affect the validity of any opinion
expressed in this report.


577
Human Rights Watch 2005. Op. cit.
86

I have indicated where possible all sources of information I have used.

I have not without forming an independent view included or excluded anything which has
been suggested to me by others.

Should this report be used by me as reference material for expert witness statements in
asylum cases, I will notify those instructing me immediately and confirm in writing if for any
reason the report requires any correction or qualifications.










Dr Trevor Trueman, 8 September 2011












87

References

References which have been used more than once in footnotes and abbreviated as Op. cit. are
listed below in alphabetic order.

Aalen, Lovise and Tronvoll, Kjetil (2009a) Briefing: The 2008 Ethiopian local elections:
The return of electoral authoritarianism. African Affairs, 108: 430, 111-120.

Abbink, Jon (2009) The Ethiopian Second Republic and the Fragile Social Contract.
Africa Spectrum, 44: 2, 3-28.

Amnesty International (1995) Ethiopia: Accountability, past and present, human rights in
transition. London. April 1995.

Amnesty International Report 2010. The State of the Worlds Human Rights: Ethiopia.
London. 28 May 2010. pp.139-142.

Amnesty International Report 2011. The State of the Worlds Human Rights: Ethiopia.
London. 18 May 2011.

Clapham, Christopher (2009) Post-war Ethiopia: The Trajectories of Crisis. Review of
African Political Economy. 36:120, 181-192.

Etana, Belete (2009) Press Release published by Ethiopian opposition website, Ethiopian
Media Forum, 31 October 2009, and received at interview, London, 22 October 2009, and by
e-mail on 24 October 2009.

Guardian newspaper. London. Ethiopian judge tells of regimes massacres. 9 November
2006.

Human Rights Watch (2005) Suppressing dissent: human rights abuses and political
repression in Ethiopias Oromia region. New York. 10 May 2005.

Human Rights Watch (2008a) Ethiopia: Repression sets stage for non-competitive
elections. Press Release. New York. 10 April 2008.

Human Rights Watch (2008b) World Report 2008. Ethiopia. New York. 30 January 2008.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2009. Ethiopia. New York. January 2009.

Human Rights Watch (2010a) One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure. New York. 24
March 2010.

Human Rights Watch (2010b) Ethiopia: Repression Rising Ahead of May Elections. New
York. 24 March 2010.

Human Rights Watch (2010c) World Report 2010. Ethiopia. New York. January 2010.

88

Human Rights Watch (2010d) Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites
Repression in Ethiopia. New York. October 2010.

Human Rights Watch (2011a) World Report 2011. Ethiopia. January 2011.

Human Rights Watch (2011b) Mass Arrests of More Than 200 Ethnic Oromo Appear
Politically Motivated. News Release. London. 6 April 2011.

Jigi, Getachew (2006) Press Release. Ethiopian MP urges opposition unity, world to play
positive role. Sudan Tribune. 11 November 2006.
www.theworldpress.com/press/worldpress/sudanpress/sudantribune.htm

Jirata, Bekele (2010) From Maikelawi to Kaliti - Bekele Jirata Tells the Plight of Oromo
Political Prisoners under Zenawis Regime. Gadaa.com 18 September 2010.

Lyons, Terrence (2008) Ethiopias domestic and regional challenges. Ethiopian Review. 3
September 2008.

McCrummen, Stephanie (2007) Freed Ethiopians describe threats: journalists detail abuse,
intimidation. Washington Post Foreign Service. 21 August 2007, A10.

Oromia Support Group (1995a) Press Release. Malvern, UK. August 1995.

Oromia Support Group (1996a) Press Release. Malvern, UK. February 1996.

Oromia Support Group (1996b) Press Release. Malvern, UK. June/July 1996.

Oromia Support Group (1997a) Press Release. Malvern, UK. May/June 1997.

Oromia Support Group (1999) Press Release 26. Malvern, UK. December 1998-January
1999.

Oromia Support Group (2002a) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 38.
Malvern, UK. December 2002.

Oromia Support Group (2003) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 39. Malvern,
UK. July 2003.

Oromia Support Group (2004) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. Press Release 40. Malvern,
UK. July 2004.

Oromia Support Group (2006) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia 2005-2006. Report 42.
Malvern, UK. August 2006.

Oromia Support Group (2007) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia 2006-2007. Report 43.
Malvern, UK. August 2007.

Oromia Support Group (2008) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia 2007-2008. Report 44.
Malvern, UK. August 2008.

89

Oromia Support Group (2010a) Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia: Reports from refugees in
Kenya, September 2010. Report 46. Malvern, UK. December 2010.

Pausewang, Siegfried (2009) The Oromo between past and future: Introduction. in
Exploring New Political Alternatives for the Oromo in Ethiopia Pausewang, Siegfried (ed.)
Chr. Michelsen Institute. R2009:6. Bergen, Norway. 2009.

The Advocates for Human Rights (2009) Human Rights in Ethiopia: Through the Eyes of
the Oromo Diaspora. Minneapolis. December 2009.

Tronvoll, Kjetil (2008) Human Rights Violations in Federal Ethiopia: When Ethnic Identity
is a Political Stigma. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. 15, pp.49-79.

Tronvoll, Kjetil (2011) Briefing: The Ethiopian 2010 federal and regional elections: Re-
establishing the one-party state. African Affairs, 110:438, 121-136.

Trueman, Trevor (2009) Reasons for Refusal: An Audit of 200 refusals of Ethiopian
Asylum-Seekers in England. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, 23:3,
281-308.

Trueman, Trevor (2010) Ethiopia exports more than coffee: Oromo refugees, fear and
destitution in Kenya. Oromo Relief Association UK and Oromia Support Group. London.
December 2010.

UN Human Rights Council (2009) Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Sixth
session, Geneva, 30 November-11 December 2009. Ethiopia. A/HRC/WG.6/6/ETH/2. 18
September 2009.

US State Department (2001) 2000 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 23 February 2001.

US State Department (2002) 2001 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 4 March 2002.

US State Department (2007) 2006 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 6 March 2007.

US State Department (2008) 2007 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 11 March 2008.

US State Department (2009) 2008 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 25 February 2009.

US State Department (2010) 2009 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 11 March 2010.

US State Department (2011) 2010 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia. 8 April 2011.



i

Appendix.

Curriculum Vitae. Dr Trevor Trueman.

Date of birth 4 August 1949

Qualifications
B.Sc. Hons Anatomy 1969 Birmingham
M.B.,Ch.B. 1972 Birmingham
M.R.C.P. 1976 Edinburgh
M.D. 1981 Birmingham

Chronology
1972-3 House Physician & Surgeon. Dudley Rd Hospital, Birmingham.
1973-5 Medical Resident. McMaster University. Hamilton. Ontario.
1975 2 months, Medical Officer, International Grenfell Association,
Port Saunders, Newfoundland.
1976 6 months, Senior House Officer, Communicable & Tropical Diseases,
East Birmingham Hospital.
6 months, Senior House Officer, Cardiology,
East Birmingham Hospital.
1977-9 Research Registrar, Cardiology, East Birmingham Hospital.
1979-81 Medical Registrar, Ronkswood Hospital, Worcester.
1981 2 months Locum Consultant Physician, Ronkswood Hospital,
Worcester.
1981-94 General Medical Practitioner, Malvern. Full time apart from 1986-91.

1986-91 While job-sharing in General Practice:

1986-7 6 months, Primary Health Care Trainer, Save The Children
Fund, Port Sudan, Sudan.
Working in a Sudan Ministry of Health clinic retraining and
encouraging demoralised Medical Assistant, setting up and
training Sudanese nurses to run a TB programme and simple
diagnostic laboratory, re-organising collection of clinic
statistics and monitoring/ordering drug supplies.

1987-8 4 months, Medical Officer (Physician/Anaesthetist), Overseas
Development Administration, St Helena, South Atlantic.

1988-9 7 months, Health Worker Trainer for Health Unlimited/Oromo
Relief Association, among Oromo refugees in camps in
Southern Sudan, organising medical supplies, overseeing small
field hospitals and ongoing Health Worker training, including
ii

establishing and training staff for TB programme, liaising with
Sudanese Ministry of Health physicians, liaising with and
lobbying government and non-governmental organisations to
provide medical supplies. Included 2 week cross-border visit to
part of Wallega, Ethiopia, controlled by the Oromo Liberation
Front (OLF).
1989-90 6 months, as 1988-9, plus assisting in organising vaccinations
and control of meningitis epidemic among encamped refugees.
Severely injured in land-mine explosion when crossing border
into Ethiopia.

1990-91 7 months, as 1988-9, plus organising cross-border meningitis
vaccination campaign, including designing and arranging
funding for the programme from Oxfam, importing vaccines
and equipment to Sudan, training 28 Oromo Health Workers in
care and administration of vaccines, designing and overseeing
logistics for three teams of vaccinators to travel by truck and
foot over Ethiopian border to areas of western Ethiopia which
were controlled by OLF. Accompanied teams on two 2-week
trips.
The final 2 months were spent training village health workers
and their trainers in OLF-controlled areas.

1994-2004 Oromia Support Group.
Locum General Practitioner, providing out-of-hours cover for
practices in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, surgeries for
practices in Malvern and Colwall and performing Disability
Living Allowance assessments for Medical Services /
Department for Work and Pensions.

2004 to May 2008 Oromia Support Group. Volunteer work with Amnesty
International, Malvern group, and with Worcestershire Wildlife
Trust.
Part-time Locum/Assistant General Practitioner in Colwall
practice.

May 2008 to present Oromia Support Group. Volunteer work with Amnesty
International, Malvern group, and with Worcestershire Wildlife
Trust. Occasional teaching of clinical examination at Worcester
University.







iii

Expertise on Ethiopia and the Oromo people

Study of historical, political and human rights literature about Oromo and
Ethiopia began in 1988. This study and acquaintance and dialogue with Oromo civil
society and political leaders have continued since 1988.

During cross-border trips to Ethiopia between 1988 and 1991, a total of more than
three months was spent living and talking with Oromo and other peasant farmers in
Wallega province of the presently-named Oromia Region in western Ethiopia. Much
was learned about Oromo culture and recent history during these months.

Information on the human rights situation in Ethiopia was obtained from registered
and clandestine organisations within Ethiopia until 1997/1998. The Human Rights
League was closed and its members imprisoned in 1997. Clandestine groups were
disbanded as their members were detained or forced to flee from Ethiopia. From 1998,
most information has been obtained through informal contacts with victims of abuses
and their relatives in diasporan Oromo communities in Kenya, Djibouti, Sudan and
outside of Africa. In 2004, the majority of the Oromo community in Djibouti was
expelled. Contact with remaining refugees in Djibouti and with the refugee
community in Sudan has only been intermittent since 2004. Information continues to
be gathered directly and by written communications from Oromo communities in
Kenya, Europe and America.

Ethiopian media reports are obtained on a daily basis from the Bureau of Human
Rights and Democracy in the US State Department and the Integrated Regional
Information Network of the UN. Information on political events in Ethiopia and in
Ethiopian communities in the diaspora is obtained frequently by interview, telephone
and written communications with Oromo contacts in the UK, Europe and the USA
and with past and present senior figures within the OLF.

Information-sharing and dialogue with the UK Parliamentary Human Rights Group,
Human Rights Watch and the International Secretariat of Amnesty International
began in the 1990s and has increased since 2007. Since 1994, there has been
considerable dialogue and exchange of information with offices of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in many countries, including Great Britain,
Kenya, Djibouti, USA, India, Thailand, Israel and Sweden and its headquarters in
Geneva. Currently, there is regular communication with UNHCR offices in London,
Nairobi and Geneva.

Following a request by the Oromo Relief Association UK, a field study on the
conditions for Oromo refugees in Kenya was carried out in September 2010. In-depth
structured interviews with 58 refugees in UNHCR camps in Kakuma and Dadaab and
in estates in Nairobi, and meetings with groups of refugees were conducted. The
findings were published (see below).






iv

Oromia Support Group activities

Writing articles and lobbying concerning human rights abuses in Ethiopia began in
1992. The Oromia Support Group was established in May 1994, with Dr Trueman as
Chair. Until 1999, newsletters and press releases were published every two months.
Since 1999, publications were reduced in frequency and since 2004 have been limited
to annual reports of human rights abuses in Ethiopia.

Lobbying has included contact with officials of British and American embassies in
Ethiopia, Members of the European Parliament, staff of the European Commission,
officials of the US State Department, the Carter Centre, Atlanta, Georgia, and of the
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Immigration and Nationality
Directorate (before it became the UK Border Agency).

An Oral Statement was made to the 1997 UN Commission for Human Rights. OSG
was accredited status at the UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), in South
Africa, 2001. An Oral Statement was made by Dr Trueman to the Working Group for
the Second Preparatory Committee Meeting of the WCAR, in Geneva, March 2001,
and a statement was written by Dr Trueman and presented by a colleague in the
Oromia Support Group to the WCAR in September 2001.

The Oromia Support Group made a submission to the Universal Periodic Review of
Ethiopia by the UN Human Rights Council, 30 November-11December 2009, and
submitted a report via the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation to the
discussion of the country situation in Ethiopia, in the 99th Session of the UN Human
Rights Committee, 12-30 July 2010 in Geneva.

Information on the human rights situation in Ethiopia was presented by Dr Trueman
to members of the Human Rights Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of
the Irish Parliament on 6 December 2006. Together with a delegation of human rights
activists representing Oromo and other peoples of Ethiopia, Dr Trueman presented
information on human rights abuses in Ethiopia to Malcolm Bruce MP, Chairman of
the International Development Select Committee, in Westminster Hall on 23 May
2011.

Asylum-related activities

From 2000 to 2011, 269 expert witness statements have been written to facilitate
decision-making by immigration authorities assessing claims by asylum seekers from
Ethiopia, in the UK and elsewhere.

An audit of 200 Home Office Reasons for Refusal letters and 57 negative appeal
decisions on asylum applications in the UK was carried out at the end of 2008.
Findings were presented and published (see below).






v

Presentations and publications

Papers on human rights abuses in Ethiopia presented:
African Studies Association, USA, in November 1997 and 2000.
African Studies Association, UK, September 1998.
Annual conferences of the Oromo Studies Association from 1995 to 2010
(except 2008/9).
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in November 2000.
Human Rights in Africa in the New Millennium African Studies Association,
UK/ University of Central Lancashire, conference, September 2001.
International Association of Genocide Scholars biennial conference,
Minneapolis 2001.
Annual conference Union of Oromo Students in Europe, Frankfurt, July 2002.
OLF seminar on human rights and refugees, Oslo, August 2002.
International Association of Genocide Scholars biennial conference,
Galway, Ireland, 2003 (with organising panel of four speakers).
Chairman and discussant in a panel on human rights in Ethiopia at the
University of Manchester conference War, culture and humanity from
ancient to modern times April, 2004.
International Association of Genocide Scholars biennial conference,
Boca Raton (Florida), 2005.
Oromo Menschenrechts und Hilfsorganisation (Oromo Human Rights and
Relief Organisation) conferences, Hannover, September 2007 and
Berlin, September 2010.
OLF conference, Crisis in the Horn of Africa, Stockholm, February 2008.
OLF seminar, The quest for democracy, peace and sustainable development in
the Horn of Africa, Frankfurt, May 2008.
Annual Conference, Union of Oromo Students in Europe, UK branch, London,
February 2010.
Annual Oromo Martyrs Day Conference, Oslo, April 2011.
Annual Conference, Union of Oromo Students in Europe, German branch,
Munich, April 2011.


Research on asylum decision-making process:
Reasons for Refusal: An Audit of 200 Refusals of Ethiopian asylum-seekers
in England published October 2009. Journal of Immigration, Asylum
and Nationality Law. Vol. 23 No. 3, 2009, p 281-308.
Presentation of findings at Seeking Refuge: caught between bureaucracy,
lawyers and public indifference? Centre of African Studies, School of
Oriental and African Studies, University of London, April 2009.
Presentation of findings at Round Table Discussion The culture of disbelief
and its impact on the use of Country of Origin Information in refugee
status determination Research and Information Unit, Immigration
Advisory Service, London, June 2009.





vi

Research among Oromo refugees in Kenya:
Publication Ethiopia exports more than coffee: Oromo refugees, fear and
destitution in Kenya. Published by Oromo Relief Association UK
(London) and Oromia Support Group (Malvern), December 2010.
Presentation at Oromo Relief Association AGM, December 2010.
Digest of interviewees experiences of abuse in Ethiopia is published as
Report 46 of Oromia Support Group.
Presentations of the findings of the research have been and are scheduled to be
made to several civil society organisations and to Amnesty
International groups in Malvern, Worcester, Bristol, Ipswich,
Bournville, Stratford on Avon, and to East Anglia Regional AGM,
during 2011.

Chapters published:
Democracy or dictatorship, pp 141-150, in
Ethiopia: Conquest and quest for freedom and democracy. Eds Seyoum Y.
Hameso, Trevor Trueman, Temesgen M. Erena. TSC Publications. London.
1997.
Western foreign policy, profits and human rights: the case of Ethiopia. Journal of
Oromo Studies. 6. 1&2. 91-107. 1999.
Genocide against the Oromo people. pp 133-147, in Arrested development in
Ethiopia. Eds Seyoum Hameso, Mohammed Hassen. Red Sea Press. Trenton,
New Jersey, and Asmara, Eritrea. 2006.