On this time when peaceful protest is being considered as a crime, the public protest ignited in Oromia Region has been ongoing for more than 4 months. While hundreds of protesters have been killed so far, it is to be recalled that the Ethiopian Human Rights Project has published a detailed report marking the protest’s 100 days. In addition to the killings, disappearance of activists and thousands imprisonment were also reported by organizations like the Human Rights Council in their limited human rights abuses monitoring reports.
Opposing these human rights abuses, Oromo students from different campuses of Addis Ababa University held a peaceful demonstration in front of the gate of USA Embassy on March 8/2016. The demonstration was cracked down by government armed forces and 49 of the protestors were arrested of which 20 are charged and currently held at Kilinto prison.
The charges against the students are filed at Menagesha 1st instance court. Though the judge granted bail for the defendants with Birr 2,000.00, the prosecutor appealed claiming that, “they will hide or leave country since the University will dismiss them anyway”. Accordingly, the students were denied of their bail rights and are following their case from Kilinto prison. They are appointed for April 18th 2016 to hear the prosecutor’s witnesses.
Recently gathered information shows that these students are being treated with harsher conditions at the prison,
- While other prisoners are allowed to have their charge files with them, the students are not allowed to do so since the administrators of the prison took away the charge files from them, hence making it very difficult for the students to understand the detailed charges and prepare for defense.
- While they are escorted to and from court, it is repeatedly witnessed that they are being handled with inappropriate handling. They have said that their hands are tightly cuffed in a way that inflicts physical pain.
- On Family visit hours, only one student/defendant is allowed to be visited at a time even though families of the others are there to see one of the students.
The following is the lists of the names of the students/defendants
1 Soressa Deme 4th year Mechanical Engineering Student
2 Bilisuma Birhanu 2nd year Economics Student
3 Gudina Tesfaye 2nd year Management Student
4 Eshetu Dejene 2nd year Economics Student
5 Debela Feyisa 4th year Engineering Student
6 Batte Lemi 2nd Year Mathematics Student
7 Alemu Olani 2nd year Economics Student
8 tGemechu Kebede 1st year Afan Oromo Language
9 Ahmed Mohammed 5th year Electrical Engineering Student
10 Hinersamu Bogale 3rd year Accounting Student
11 Ejigu Qebeta 2nd year Economics Student
12 Sheleme Gemechu 2nd year Economics Student
13 Gemechu Hailu
14 Meresha Bayisa 2nd year Economics Student
15 Tesfaye Getu 3rd year Management Student
16 Teressa Asenaqe 2nd year Economics Student
17 Tesfaye Mekonnen 2nd year Economics Student
18 Daniel Abdisa 2nd year Chemical Engineering Student
19 Guta Bayisa 2nd year Chemical Engineering Student
20 Birhanu Bedada 1st year Public Administration Student