10/02/08 (B434) ALERTE ROUGE / SOCEPP / Communiqué en anglais du 7 février 2008 pour protester contre l’incarcération d’une jeune écolière de 12 ans, avec les adultes à Addis Abeba .

EPRDF ISSUES FALSE DOCUMENT
ON DJIBOUTI MINOR RAPED AND JAILED IN ADDIS ABABA

Twelve years old Hasna Mohamed Hassan, a refugee from Djibouti was kidnapped and raped (for 17 days) by a close relative of the EPRDF police commissioner and when her father protested and sought legal recourse the minor was arrested, accused falsely of theft and sentenced (she had no lawayer) to six months imprisonment in the horrible Kaliti prison for adults.

When international protest heightened, the EPRDF has now distributed (especially via its embassy in Paris), a document of denial filled with false assertions.

Hasna’s father was recently called by Berhanu, the deputy director of the Refugee Affairs Bureau in Addis Ababa, and bluntly told that unless he stops protesting he “will never see his daughter again and he himself will be disappeared”. The father has persisted and all human rights bodies are expected to continue with their protests.

The EPRDF denial states that the 12 year old girl is not Djiboutian but Ethiopian, that she was jailed for theft and that she is 16 years old and married.

However, the UNHCR has testified that Hasna Mohamed is a bona fide refugee born in Ethiopia from Djiboutian parents (refugees) and her refugee ID (no 27-00000213) and other identity cards as well as a testimony of paternity signed by an Ethiopian court have been presented to prove her age and Djiboutian identity. In other words, the denial by the EPRDF is based on fabricated documents while behind the scene presure is being made on the father to pose no question and accept the condemnation of his little daughter.

That the kidnapper and rapist is related to the EPRDF police chief has compounded the case and spurred the cover up that has now proved flimsy. The EPRDF embassy in Paris (the woman ambassador was herself a onetime prisoner and is a mother of three) has been distributing the false document to NGOs and newspapers trying to justify the crime against the innocent child.

The father of Hasna is now in grave danger as Ethiopia is a country where disappearing someone is a common practice of the regime and threats from top officials are not to be taken lightly.

Djiboutian refugees are mistreated, not more than 20% of them have been recognized as refugees (Hasna’s father himself was detained for three months in Awash). Hasna is in prison in Kaliti and reports indicate that her health condition is worsening. Her rapist is free and this is justice EPRDF style.

What is worrisome is the fact that Hasna and her father are now in the eye of the storm and may suffer reprisals from the repressive regime of Meles Zenawi.

SOCEPP calls on all human rights organizations to raise their voices calling for the release of Hasna, for an end to the violation of the rights of minors in Ethiopia, for the respect of the rights of Djiboutian refugees and an end to the gross human rights violation that has become the norm in Ethiopia.

INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS INJUSTICE EVERYWHERE
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