Save Ethiopian Political Prisoners

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On January 27th, 2021, numerous political prisoners -- including Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Hamza Borana, Dajane Xafa, and others -- undertook a hunger strike in protest of the wrongful arrest of peaceful supporters, the continued detention of Oromo political leaders, and the mistreatment of family members. On February 5th, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reported that the condition of the prisoners is dire and that they face “permanent health problems” if the strike continues. On February 8th, doctors working to keep the prisoners alive reported that they have “become extremely weak.” Many can “no longer speak” and are beginning to lose consciousness. 

The event which sparked the strike was the arrest of at least 80 peaceful protestors. They were arrested following a protest in which participants wore yellow and rallied outside of the Federal High Court, Lideta Division of the Anti-Terrorism and Constitutional Court in Ethiopia. Though the protestors, participating in the popular OromoYellowMovement, have since been released, their arrest is indicative of the wider human-rights crisis in Ethiopia.

Those who are on hunger strike have the following demands which I also support: 

  • Release all political prisoners 
  • Allow all political party offices to reopen and to operate freely 
  • End the mistreatment of family members of political prisoners while they visit their loved ones at Kaliti Prison and elsewhere