Free Nazrawit Abera from Guangzhou Prison

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Alazar Yilma
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A local entrepreneur, NazrawitAbera is in the custody of the Government of China accused of trafficking cocaine and is expected to be charged with an offence whose likely outcome is expected to be execution.

The 27 year-old, who is a graduate of Addis Ababa University’s Engineering Program,was said to betravelling to China when she was arrested due to import construction products to Ethiopia. Her friends are adamant she is innocent of the crime in question and are appealing to higher authorities for an urgent help on the matter.

Nazrawit, who has been involved in construction projects around Ethiopia as a contractor, was said to have agreed to transport shampoos belonging to a childhood friend unbeknownst to her contained cocaine.

The friend was reprimanded by Addis Ababa Police but has since been released and her whereabouts are unknown. According to Nazrawit’s friends, she was briefly in Kenya, buthas returned and was prevented from leaving the country at Bole International Airport as she attempted to fly to Thailand last week.

China, one of the world’s leading executioners of people convicted of drug offenses as a deterrent for others from committing such a crime. According to the Dui Hua Foundation –a United States based human rights organization focused on China’s human rights record found thatthe nation’s courts have a 99.9 percent conviction rate for such crimes making Nazrawit’s family and friends nervous.

According to her brother, the Ethiopian Embassy in Beijing is affording her legal representation while she awaits her sentencing and is prohibited from having any contacts with her family.

“We are fearful, angry and do not know where to go and cry,” one friend who asked to stay unanimous told The Reporter. “We have not heard from her and we have little information of her status and her parents cry and spend sleepless nights hopping their daughter will come back.”

As cash strapped African States deepen their economic cooperation with China, there has been an increasing traffic of Africans travelling to the nation looking for an economic opportunity, including poor citizens from non-developed nations, promised jobs and unknown to them, being used as drug traffickers.

There have been a number of Africans executed in recent years for a slew of drug offenses, more specifically citizens from countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria. However, China is known to rarely execute westerners and according to CNN, the last execution of such a foreigner happened in 2009, when Akmal Shaikh, a British citizen was executed for trafficking 4 kilogram worth of heroin into the country.  

The country is known to cremate the bodies of the dead and send the ashes back to their respective countries.

Last week, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry sent a communiqué, warning Ethiopian students from accepting a fake scholarship scheme and in turn being used as a drug mule, including ‘khat’, which China deems as a drug comparable to cocaine.

According to NebiatGetachew, the spokesperson of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, the Ethiopian consulates and embassies in China continue to offer assistance wherever its citizens are in need of assistance. He confirmed that there are now 22 such cases in the country, of Ethiopian citizenship, accused of criminal offenses.