Amnesty calls on Ethiopia police to account for missing Oromo opposition leader Abdi Regassa as crackdown on opposition by Nobel Peace Prize winning Abiy Ahmed skyrockets

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Amnesty International on Tuesday called on the police in Ethiopia to account for the whereabouts of Abdi Regassa, a senior member of the opposition political party Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – who remains missing after security officers in Addis Ababa broke into his home and arrested him alongside eight other party members on 29 February.

Amnesty said while the other eight party members were released later the same day, Abdi Regassa was not, raising fears he may have been subjected to enforced disappearance and was at risk of torture or other ill-treatment by the Ethiopia police.

The police have denied they are still holding him, according to his lawyer and family members.

Human rights violations and crackdown on opposition figures have continued in Ethiopia under the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

“Abdi Regassa’s family and lawyers have spent the last couple of days frantically searching police stations and detention centres across Addis Ababa in an attempt to locate him,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The police deny that they have him in their custody and yet he was last seen in their custody and there is no evidence that he has been released. This is understandably causing his family considerable anxiety and distress. The authorities must come clean and immediately disclose his whereabouts and allow him access to his family and lawyer.”

According to the human rights organization, in the early hours of 29 February, security officers stormed a guest house in the southern part of Addis Ababa where five senior members of the OLF and four supporters were staying. All nine were arrested and taken to the local police station.

The OLF members were then split into two groups; the first group of six were moved to the Addis Ababa Police Commission and eventually released within 24 hours of arrest.

The second group of three, comprising Abdi Regassa and Mikael Gobena, both members of OLF’s Executive Committee, and Kenessa Ayana, a member of OLF’s Central Committee, were taken to an unmarked unofficial detention compound around the 6 Kilo area in Addis Ababa. While Mikael Gobena and Kenessa Ayana were released within 24 hours of arrest, the police continued to detain Abdi Regassa, the two told Amnesty International.

The police confiscated the mobile phones, driving licenses, passports and bank ATM cards of all the OLF members before releasing them, leaving them stranded.

“The Ethiopian authorities must stop arbitrarily arresting and detaining opposition figures. They must immediately disclose Abdi Regassa’s whereabouts, charge him with a recognisable crime under the law or release him without further delay,” said Seif Magango.

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

11 COMMENTS

  1. Abiy ahimed is fake leader at all , he is not in charge . Leaders are oromo people enemy as usual. no change

  2. The horrific gov’t has to be down in every were on the face of earth specially ethiopian government.
    How the citizen of country will get change while they abusing human right.
    Stop harassement this is againist humanity amd civil right of the country.

  3. most of his(Dr.Abiy’s) cabine’s are trying to fail his gov’t,b/se some are ignorant leader,some are old cabine(leaders).They are addapted to arrest honesty people w/c do not support them.What Dr.Abiy should do is he should bring true renuesence,he should use fresh leaders.

  4. I think Abiyi Couldnt Lead That Country!!! sinc He Came To Power Morethan 2000 Killed, stimated 1500 tortured and mass arrested in all country’s part spcially in oromia region!!

  5. The current political situation in Ethiopia is at its worest than ever before, especially The governmet crackdown on public dessent and griviance is returning the whole country in to a turmoil and confusion. The country is under undeclared state of emergency. There are a known regions in oromiya military occupation and command posts are work. Now the ongoing opposition leaders and supportes arbitrary arrest is another chapter in demise of hope for democracy and the coming free and fair election in Ethiopia. The is no way the govt is going to hold a fair and free election as mass arrest and missing of political figure is rampant from the outset through out the country! We returned to the same old and ugly place we started from. Ethiopia at brink of war, at brink of collapse again will be a title of your artcles soon inthe near future. Let the international community help Ethiopia pass through this tough times by tellig the world the truth about Ethiopian govt human right violation at its record high. Thank you very much!

  6. Thanks for your concern please continue by being our voice we are in very bad situation that our PM is doing anything he can to remain in power and destroy the Oromia region dividing the nation by religion, ethics and so on. I think there’s no election because he knows that he will never win. Thanks again 🙏

  7. Really thanks for you becomes our voice. The Ethiopian government is terrirozing civil people with his defencing force and military polices today in our country.

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