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Ethiopia - Birtukan sues government for violation of rights
By Kirubel Tadesse
The jailed opposition party Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) chair, Birtukan Midekssa, has sued the government of Ethiopia for violating her rights as a prisoner.
Earlier this month, attorney Tesfaye Derese filed the charge on behalf of Birtukan. Tesfaye himself had on various occasions claimed not to be able to see his client.
In the filed charge, Birtukan asks the court to ensure her prisoner's rights, which she said have been violated, are respected. The Ethiopian constitution stipulates that persons in custody and convicted prisoners have the right to communicate with and be visited by spouse(s), close relatives and friends, medical attendants, and religious and legal counselors.
Birtukan is not the first one to claim mistreatment in detention centers. During the former Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP) leaders and members' trial, then CUDP Secretary, Muluneh Eyuel, also claimed that he was mistreated and was put in a dark cell on his own.
Very recently, the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) secretary Bekele Jirate claimed that he was made to stand for long hours while he was in police custody. Both allegations were rejected by the courts.
Birtukan's charge was sent back to the registrar by the first presiding judge, who explained that he could not preside over the case, as he knew the plaintiff personally. Another justice, who took over the case, ruled last Wednesday that it is in the court's jurisdiction and the plaintiff has a case and can indeed sue for the alleged violations.
In orders issued last Wednesday, the court explained that it took on the case after the plaintiff re-stated its case to explain that the alleged violations occurred in the previous fifteen days. This is a requirement if the case is to go through what is called accelerated procedure.
The court has ordered the Federal Correction Facilities Commission to present a response to the charge by April 2.
It was back in December 29 that Birtukan was re-arrested and began serving life after the pardon board revoked her pardon. She was imprisoned and then pardoned after she - along with other members and leaders of the former CUDP - were found guilty of unrest following the 2005 elections.
UDJ and other opposition groups such as OFDM and United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) have condemned Birtukan's re-arrest. However the government insisted it acted to uphold the rule of law to which it said Birtukan failed to comply when she denied asking for a pardon and then refused to retract her statement.
Some lawyers expressed a concern about the procedures the government took to revoke her pardon. These experts explained that Birtukan was not given the legally permitted 21 days before her pardon was revoked, instead she was re-arrested just 72 hours after the Federal Police Commission asked her to retract the statement.
The justice minister, Berhan Hailu, has said that the 21 day period referred to by the lawyers is only advisory.
aye keled. Bertukan atashufi ebakeshi.
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This is just a waste of time!! What is the point of suing a criminal when the justice system is fully controlled by the criminal himself? But then, what can she do when we fail to do enough! Her party itself, in the hands of those useless old men, hasn’t done the tiniest fraction of what is required if Birtukan’s right needed to be restored. They are incredibly sluggish, hugely fearful, clearly unsystematic who have successfully transformed the once vibrant, futuristic and obviously very young political party into a toothless, decaying and old ‘Edir’. If you can not do what is needed to be done, you fuckin’ resign! The head of the party has been under a brutal solitary confinement for almost three months now and they haven’t managed a single meaningful action to force the woyane criminal’s think again. How in the world a popular party fails to secure even a visiting right to its illegally incarcerated president? This is as absurd, ridiculous and over all ludicrous as Woyane’s treason charge itself. Irrespective of the criminal regime’s wishes, udj must call protests! The people has the right to protest against any unlawful actions by the criminals on power. Clearly, there is no legal grounds and justifications for what has been done to the honorable and innocent Birtukan Mideksa.
Start acting on what the time requires or officially relinquish your responsibility, fuckin cowards!
Free Woizerit Birtukan Mideksa!!!
Good for you Birtukan !
Defy the bastards even if you won’t win ! At least you are showing them the limit of their excesses.
Shameless Bastards !!
SUEING WHO? The 3-pro shabia eritrean born the so-called ethiopians? the hat trick midget ZINJERO melese, the ugly BEREKET-the bekt and the pigamy goat,melon head seyoum MEJGER? Let’s lynch them side by side!!
Let me get his straight the same people that put her in jail for LIFE for a so-called political crime, she is asking to uphold her civil rights? Good luck sister, you live in a country that defines Democracy as Dictatorship!
Never stop fighting for your right even if you know it is not going to be resoved.
The world hears and know what is going on when she fights for her right!
Please never give up!
The so called worshipers of Meles will tell you “you should have not say this and that now you brought it on your self since they do not want to know what you stand for”
May GOD bless you sis for standing up for over 80M people!
You are our HERO!
where is all knjit so called they are the hero? Most of them should be jailed for they crime!! specially in dc area wht so called Ethiopians “” hum""""! i am sick in tired with DC ” fendata” people. They don’t have a life. Get a life.All the time complain. Go back to ethiopia and fight like a man!!
This doen’t make sense, I consider this as a good publicity for the criminal regime.
Isn’t the same guy the commander and chief of everything in Ethiopia, from army to judiciary and what more violation of rights exist for being put in jail on non-existent phony charges.
The whole thing is absurd. Why don’t you ask for forgivness and recant what you had said “denying signing a request for pardon". You signiture is in the web, no use in denying it. Then why preffer jail for such trivial matter? You can’t hurt EPRDF by such foolish action. I blame more your advisors for giving you such councilling for you are the one who is playing with your life, not them. They are in the sheraton, lol.
I am starting to respect her for seeking a legal challenge, this is the only and best way to show her non-violent stand.
It could be easiest if would ask pardon again than sue the government.
ha ha ha
This must be the jock 2009, said it again
eppf is on the way to free all Ethiopia wwwEPPF.org
The only solution is armed struggle. cos i said it before and i will say it again no dictator will give us freedom.so freedom it dos not come for free.we have to give our life freely to struggle and achieve freedom for our country.we stand free from colonial power cos our for fathers give there life for me and u.therefor it is our time to give ours for the next generation.don’t ask for freedom.take your Owen freedom.LOVE ETHIOPIA.
I don’t get it. Wasn’t she imprisoned illegally? Wasn’t the struggle for her release from jail?
I hope all peace loving will do their best for the release and freedom of all political prisonors.
Birtukan doesn’t need your advice regarding legal matters.
You better contact her for advice. Your time is up. She’s a forgiving girl and give it to you for free.
Nicole ! You smell washera. Can I call you washera?
“Then why preffer jail for such trivial matter?”
The FIRST reason is as the FM Siyoum says it some of us have this MUTIGNE YALE FIKIR for backwardness and poverty…U C staying out jail requires brain, hard work, swift move and so on…If some of the oppositions hade posses some of those qualities they would have accepted to govern ADDIS and who know where they would be or what they would accomplish in the next election…As u and i know they are shy of hard work.
The other reason is not knowing who they are up against and not having a cause to rebel…
The last reason is SHE AND THE OTHERS HAVE FOUND THEIR COMFORT ZONE.
Zenawi is the Prime Minister, the police chief, and the judge.
How can one get justice?????
If you truly care about this young women, tell her to retrieve hard words, admit her guilt instead and she will be walking free again without a doubt. I am not supporting her re-arrest however, if she cannot play by the rule of the game then she probably deserve it. She thinks her hard line, refusal to correct her own errors is becoming more painful by the day, and I am sure soon or later, she will admit and ask for forgiveness. In the meantime, she can enjoy the free meal she is getting from the county government while others struggle to bring food to the table. Perhaps, she is thinking either writing a book or making a movie out of this after she gets out (assuming she will get out). Whatever the out come is life will never be the same for this poor young lay because no person that served jail time can say anything good that comes out of it. Therefore, the choice is yours Ms. Birtukan, lower your ego and tell the court that you were incorrect and you would like to correct your statement. Admit that you asked for pardon after you where charged with the crime brought to the court by the prosecutors and you are better off fighting for your cause (personal beliefs) from the main street instead.
Free you said:
‘Her party itself, in the hands of those useless old men, hasn’t done the tiniest fraction of what is required if Birtukan’s right needed to be restored. They are incredibly sluggish, hugely fearful, clearly unsystematic who have successfully transformed the once vibrant, futuristic and obviously very young political party into a toothless, decaying and old ‘Edir'’.
Yes Free, that’s exactly what’s bothering me. Who is capable to overtake? At the moment no one is organized. I fear disintegration and more bloodshed for the future, while we excerice a healthy academic exchange in the cyberworld. Sad!
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