504. By letter dated 17 October 2002, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 1997, 1999 and 2001 regarding which no reply had been received.
505. On 23 April 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteurs on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Bekele Jirata, the vice-president of Macha Tulama Association, a long-established and officially recognized Oromo welfare association, Gemeda Dinagde and Dereje Sibu, medical doctors, Nekemte Wakjira Abdissa, a medical doctor in Gimbi, Ayana Kabata, Tesfaye Burayu and Getachew Ummata, all teachers in Nekemte, Biratu Qanani, Atsede Tola(f) and Lemlem Tesfaye (f), all students in Nekemte, Zelalem Abebe and Bekele Tedla, both students in Najo, Biratu Qanani, Berhanu Ismail and Tadelle Kalbassa, all teachers in Mendi, Mohamed Aberra, Ahmed Said and Meseret Tamiru (f), all students in Gimbi, Tolessa Debela and Daniel Gemechu, Addis Ababa University students, and Fikru Negassa, a student shot in Shambu, who had all reportedly been arrested in many towns in western Oromia and some in Addis Ababa, following demonstrations in late March 2002. It was reported that they were being held incommunicado in police stations and prisons, including Dedessa special detention centre near Najo. In particular, Bekele Jirata is said to have been arrested in Addis Ababa around 12 April.Girma Beyene, a student, was reportedly shot dead by the security forces in Ambo, while Fikru Negassa had a leg amputated in an Addis Ababa hospital as a result of being shot.
506. On 14 June 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on behalf of Birru Bale, a former senior civil servant, Tamire Tessema, Tesfaye Adola, Basha Bariso and others, including children who were said to have been detained incommunicado after the police reportedly opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in the town of Awassa on 24 May 2002, killing at least 25 people. Hundreds of people were reportedly gathering in the Looqe quarter on the outskirts of Awassa for a planned demonstration in the town centre against the government plans to upgrade Awassa to city status when federal troops sent by the regional Government dispersed the protestors with live ammunition. Many of those killed were school students, including Hameso Kieso, Bunara Gionamo, Tefesse Yeba and Sata Badacho.
507. On 12 July 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Kebede Mammo, a school director, and Abebe Chimde, Mosissa Futasa, Kebede Humnasa, Dinsa Serbessa and Tesfaye Taressa, all school teachers from the Basha Aboye secondary school in Gudar, Oromia region, who had reportedly been arrested in Gudar on 5 July 2002. It was reported that they were being held incommunicado without charge in the Ambo Palace Prison near Ambo town. Their arrest may have been connected to the demonstrations by school students in the Oromia region in March and April 2002 (see above).
508. On 14 August 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Ziad Hussein Abarusky and four others, all employees of the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway at Dire Dawa (one of them a senior official), who were reportedly arrested without charge at the end of June 2002 in Dire Dawa city in Oromia region. They were said to be held incommunicado in Memria Prison on the outskirts of Dire Dawa. Ziad Hussein Abarusky was reportedly severely ill-treated, and allegedly sustained injuries to his sexual organs, leaving him unable to walk. He was reportedly refused medical attention and access to his family.
509. By letter dated 7 November 2002, the Government informed that he had been detained in accordance with the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Law of Ethiopia and without violating his human rights. While in detention, he was visited by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Concerning the other four individuals, the Government responded that it was difficult to properly respond to the allegation as the said individuals were not identified by name.
510. On 20 August 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders on behalf of Million Tumato, a medical doctor, Mengistu Gonsam, acting director of a nongovernmental development organization, Game Gatiso, Beshu Tulu and Mesfin Kitessa, businessmen, Girma Chuluke, chair of Sidama zone assembly, Tongola Torba, chair of Aroressa district assembly, Tekele Dulo and hundreds of others were reportedly detained in Awassa in July and August 2002 in connection with a peaceful demonstration on 24 May 2002. The detainees were reportedly held incommunicado without charge or trial.
511. By letter dated 8 November 2002, the Government informed that these individuals are held in detention for their alleged participation in instigating and organizing an illegal demonstration and inciting violence between the security forces and those who took part in the illegal demonstration held on 24 May 2002. Also, they participated, on 23 July 2002, in the murder of three people, wounded another person and destroyed a government-owned vehicle. The Government further stressed that these individuals are detained in accordance with the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code and that the individuals in custody are in good condition, with full respect for their physical and mental well-being. They have also been visited in detention by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Regarding the allegation that hundreds of people are arrested in Awassa, the Government pointed out that there are only very few people detained, in connection with the above-mentioned violence. The Regional Administration provided also information indicating that Game Tatiso, one of those detained, had been released on bail.
This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.