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Ethiopia rejects European Parliament call to release Oromo leader

The government of Ethiopia on Friday rejected the call by the European Parliament to release the opposition leader, Dr. Merera Gudina, on bail or drop the charges against him.“The resolution issued by the European Parliament (EP) which called for the immediate release on bail and dropping of all charges against Dr. Merera Gudina was not fair and appropriate,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

On 30 November 2016, Ethiopian security forces arrested Dr Merera Gudina, the chairman of the Ethiopian Oromo Federalist Congress opposition party in Addis Ababa.

It followed his visit to the European Parliament on 9 November 2016, where he shared a panel with other opposition leaders and allegedly violated the law implementing the state of emergency, by ‘creating pressure against the government’, ‘threatening society through the means of violence’ and attempting to ‘disrupt constitutional order’.

The European Parliament, in its resolution, said the Ethiopian authorities have repeatedly used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators and committed human rights abuses against members of the Oromo community and other ethnic groups, including acts of persecution, arbitrary arrests and killings, owing to their perceived opposition to the government.

Ethiopia’s government regularly accuses those who criticise government policy of association with terrorism; with journalists, bloggers, protesters, and activists have been prosecuted under the country’s tough 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, the resolution noted


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