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Social media campaign for prisoners of conscience kicks off

All day long social media campaign for prisoners of conscience

Ethiopia - prisoners of conscience - social media campaign
Campaign Poster
Source : Social Media

December 26,2017

Journalists and Human Rights activists in Ethiopia have organized a social media campaign for prisoners of conscience. It will launch on December 27 and will be an all day event. Participants in this online social media activism are requested to write a facebook update or a tweet about a prisoner of conscience in Ethiopia who they are familiar about.

Why was this campaign organized?

The organizers say that the campaign is partly informed by the need to create awareness among the international community about worsening circumstances under which the prisoners and languishing and human rights abuse perpetrated on prisoners of conscience. And partly to show solidarity for prisoners of consistence in Ethiopia that they are not forgotten and to demand for their release. The hashtag for the twitter campaign is #Freeallprisonersofconscience

The regime’s Human Rights records

The regime in Ethiopia has a record of gross human rights violation for well over two decades now and international human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been calling for the release of prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia.

In addition to the Maekelawi toruture chamber, the ruling Tigray People’s Organization used notorious prisons like Kaliti, Qilinto and Zeway where prisoners of conscience are subjected to solitary confinement in dark room and upside down torture. Female prisoners of conscience often face dehumanizing psychological torture. There were even cases when female prisoners who were being tortured were rapped by regime henchmen in prisons. Recently, there was a prisoner who died while being tortured whose case was never investigated by the government.

Apart from torture, the prison condition itself in the country is harsh and inhuman. In September of 2016, about twenty-three inmates were killed due to prison fire in Kilinto

Peaceful protest in the country is usually met with brute military force

Anti-Terrorism legislation

After the year 2009, the regime invented anti-terrorism legislation to in an effort to employ “legal” repression and many of the prisoners of conscience, who are either journalists or politicians, were incarcerated in connection with the legislation.

Among notable political prisoners whose cause is known to the public are Andualem Arage, Merera Gudia and Bekele Gerba. Merera Gudina,chairman of Oromo Federalist Congress, was arrested in November 2016, soon after state of emergency was declared, upon arrival from a working visit to Europe.

There are however numerous prisoners from different parts of Ethiopia who were thrown to prison on political grounds. Some do not even appear before court.

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