It has been well over five years since Abiy Ahmed, who is seen critical voices as a puppet of western powers, was handpicked by the now defunct Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to be the Prime Minister of the Ethiopia following widespread protest in the country and the subsequent resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne in March 2018.
Broadening the democratic space in the country, ending arbitrary detention and torture were some of the pledges that Abiy Ahmed made ( based on consensus from the central committee of then ruling party – EPRDF).
As it turns out, Abiy Ahmed, who recycled the EPRDF coalition to form a new party – Prosperity Party – in his own image and world view, became an even more ruthless leader.
Apart from widespread and unending massacre and displacement of ethnic Amhara -mostly in the Oromia region – Abiy Ahmed’s government has been deepening crackdown on journalists and activists who have been exposing targeted and politically motivated massacres on ethnic Amharas in the country.
The latest victims of the arbitrary arrest are GUMA award organizer and film maker, Yonas Berhane, and Filagot Abraha, another TV personality. The latter displayed artwork on her forehead to show a bullet wound and marked her lips with a barbed wire in what appears to be an attempt to be a voice for the voiceless ethnic Amhara people amid deepening crackdown on freedom of expression.
As has been the case with previous unlawful detentions, the latest arrest has caused widespread condemnation of the Abiy Ahmed government – that has been flexing its repressive muscle for a few years now.
In addition to activists, Daniel Bekele, Commissioner of Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, called the arrest “unlawful & unacceptable.”
He wrote on his social media page, “Detention of film maker Yonas Berhane Mewa despite grant of bail, for apparently another TV personality artwork showing a bullet wound on her head & barbed wire on her mouth at an arts award event is unlawful & unacceptable. Artistic expression is part & parcel of freedom of expression. Release him immediately and unconditionally.”
The Ethiopian government did not respond, at this writing, why it detained them.
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