24/08/06 (B363-B) LDDH : appel urgent d’Amnesty pour sauver d’abord le Professeur Mesfin Woldermariam, prisonnier politique en Ethiopie, âgé et malade et ensuite pour tous les autres prisonniers politiques incarcérés par le Gouvernement de Meles Zenawi. Modèle de l’appel à envoyer.

Le Président

DU 23 AOÛT 2006



La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH) reste très inquiète de la
situation alarmante qui prévaut en Ethiopie, en générale et de la répression
intolérable à l’égard des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme, en particulier.

La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits de l’Humains (LDDH) demande aux Autorités
de l’Ethiopie :

  1. de mettre fin à la répression contre tous les Objecteurs de conscience,
    les Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme, contre tous nos frères et voisins
  2. de relâcher tous les prisonniers d’opinion, et de mettre fin aux tortures
    physiques et morales notamment sur les prisonniers politiques comme le
    Professeur Mesfin Woldemariam âgé de 76 ans.

M. NOEL ABDI Jean-Paul


Informations sur le Professeur Mesfin Woldemariam

Amnesty international

PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 25/024/2006
23 August 2006

UA 224/06 Medical concern/ Prisoner of Conscience

ETHIOPIA Professor Mesfin Woldemariam (m), aged 76, founder and former Chair
of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council

Prisoner of conscience Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, aged 76, is receiving
treatment in Addis Ababa’s Police Hospital after collapsing in his prison
cell on 18 August. He is reportedly suffering with pneumonia, which is
likely to have been caused by the harsh conditions in which he has been
held. Amnesty International is concerned that he may be returned to Kaliti
Prison in Addis Ababa without receiving all the medical treatment that he

Retired geography professor Mesfin Woldemariam, Ethiopia’s most prominent
human rights defender, has been detained since 1 November 2005, and is among
76 opposition party leaders, journalists and human rights defenders on trial
on charges of « outrage against the Constitution », « obstruction of the
exercise of constitutional powers », « inciting, organizing or leading armed
rebellion » and « attempted genocide, » in connection to the demonstrations
against alleged fraud in the May 2005 elections in Ethiopia (see UA 284/05,
AFR 25/017/2005, 02 November 2005, and follow-ups). He is said to be
« responding well to treatment » for pneumonia in hospital, but his condition
still remains serious and potentially life-threatening.

He has been in poor health for some time and prior to his arrest had been
confined to bed for two months with back and leg problems, for which he has
reportedly received no medical treatment at Kaliti Prison. He carried out
two hunger strikes in December 2005 and January 2006 in protest at his
detention and trial.

In Kaliti prison, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam has been held in a
zinc-walled cell with other prisoners. In the current rainy season in
Ethiopia, the cell is cold and damp. Hygiene, sanitary and toilet facilities
are very poor. There are rats, cockroaches and fleas in the cell. Prisoners
are allowed weekend visits in a large group, and can receive food, books and
other items from their families, but are not allowed private family visits,
writing materials or correspondence. They are provided with medical
treatment as needed, either in prison or in hospital, but there have
sometimes been delays and other deficiencies. Diplomats and delegates or
visitors from abroad are sometimes allowed access, but often refused.

Amnesty International believes that the harsh prison conditions and
Professor Mesfin Woldemariam’s previous poor health have contributed in
large measure to his current bout of pneumonia. Some other prisoners who
have also needed hospital treatment after being detained in these
conditions, including opposition party leader Dr Berhanu Negga (see UA
195/06, AFR 25/020/2006, 14 July 2006, and follow-ups), have previously been
returned to Kaliti prison before medical tests were completed and against
the advice of doctors, leading to a deterioration in their health. It is
feared that if Professor Mesfin Woldemariam is returned to Kaliti prison in
similar circumstances, his current and pre-existing medical complaints,
combined with his age and the conditions in which he is held, could have
grave consequences for his health.


Professor Mesfin Woldemariam founded the Ethiopian Human Rights Council
(EHRCO), a non-governmental organization, in 1991. He was its chair until
2005 when he resigned and joined the election campaign as an advisor of the
Rainbow Party which is part of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD),
the main opposition party. The government has been consistently hostile to
the EHRCO, which is the only human rights group (eventually officially
registered) investigating, documenting and reporting on human rights
violations through its central and regional offices.

Several thousand suspected government opponents from the Coalition for Unity
and Democracy (CUD) and other opposition parties were detained following
demonstrations in June and November 2005 in Addis Ababa and other towns.

They were protesting against alleged fraud in the parliamentary elections of
15 May 2005. During the demonstrations, the security forces shot dead at
least 86 people and allegedly many more, wounded over 200 others, and seven
police were killed by mobs. A parliamentary inquiry is currently
investigating the killings at the demonstration. CUD leaders who were
elected to parliament and the Addis Ababa City Council refused to take up
their positions.

In December 2005, they were charged with instigating the
violence. All defendants except three civil society activists refused to
defend themselves, on the grounds that they did not expect to receive a fair
trial. In early August the trial was adjourned until 4 October due to the
annual court recess. Until then, defendants will have no opportunity to
bring complaints about their treatment before the court.


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language:

  • expressing concern that Professor Mesfin Woldemariam has fallen seriously
    ill in prison and is now in hospital, reportedly with pneumonia;
  • expressing concern that this is likely to have been caused by the harsh
    conditions in which he has been held at Kaliti prison;
  • calling for guarantees that he will receive all necessary medical
    treatment and tests in hospital for pneumonia and his other medical
    complaints, for as long as doctors at the hospital deem it necessary and
    until he has fully recovered;
  • calling also for his release on medical grounds, and that he not be
    returned to the same harsh prison conditions which led to his recent
    life-threatening illness;
  • renewing calls for the authorities to release Professor Mesfin Woldemariam
    unconditionally, as Amnesty International believes him to be a prisoner of
    conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of opinion;
  • calling on the authorities to respect regional and international standards
    for the treatment of prisoners, such as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for
    the Treatment of Prisoners.


Prime Minister
His Excellency Meles Zenawi,
Office of the Prime Minister,
PO Box 1031,
Addis Ababa,

Fax: + 251 11 1552020 / 1552030 (please keep trying)

Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Justice

Mr Assefa Kesito,
Ministry of Justice,
PO Box 1370, Addis Ababa,

Fax: + 251 11 5517775 / 5520874

Email: ministry-justice@telecom.net

Salutation: Dear Minister


President Girma Wolde-Giorgis,

Office of the President,
PO Box 1031/ PO Box 23698,

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Fax: + 251 11 5518656

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr Seyoum Mesfin,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
PO Box 393, Addis Ababa,


Fax: + 251 11 5514300

Email: mfa.addis@telecom.net.et

and to diplomatic representatives of Ethiopia accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 4 October 2006.