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Disquieting tales from Ethiopian jails

Kiya Tsegaye

The country’s constitution entitles people under custody to a dignified treatment. Recent stories from its prisons reveal otherwise.


Following the infamous mass detention by the police in June 2011 of more than two dozen individuals, unsettling news of physical abuses against the detainees, particularly members of opposition political parties, are widely surfacing.  

News of physical abuse emerged after the arrest on June 19, 2011 of Wubshet Taye, deputy editor-in-chief of the Amharic weekly Awramba Times, a newspaper known for its critical view of the Ethiopian government. However, details were sketchy and Wubshet preferred to remain silent after he first indicated that he had been beaten by his interrogators. In the following months, Awramba Times managed to publish a few details on the situation of its editor, but now the paper no longer exists after its founder Dawit Kebede fled into exile following the arrest of Wubshet Taye.

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Death penalty

Should not Ethiopia consider abolishing it?

Kiya Tsegaye

From the March 2012 print edition of Addis Standard magazine


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Not so long ago, legally backed death penalties were embedded in constitutions of many countries around the world.  

But as of late the number of countries employing the death penalty is declining. It is possible that worldwide pressure may gradually influence all countries to abandon the practice. For now the world has not formed a common consensus against its use. The most populous country in the world, China, executes more than a dozen people every year, and some states in the United States use it regularly. Luckily Europe has long freed itself of this cumbersome practice.

The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966, outlines restrictions on the use of the death penalty and sets out protection measures to be observed in capital cases. Article 6, paragraph 1 of the convention, recognizes peoples’ “inherent right to life.” However paragraph 2 of the same convention states “in countries that have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes…” As a further sign of ambiguity, Article 6, paragraph 6 of the same convention insists “nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State Party to the present Covenant.”

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The fight against corruption in Ethiopia

Kiya Tsegaye

Kiya Tsegaye

From the February edition of Addis Standard magazine


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Globally, the prevalence of corruption is gaining momentum and its practice is growing in sophisticated manners. In the face of the alarming nature of the problem, a number of countries in the world have come to realize that corruption poses a real threat to economic and social progress, and political stability.

 

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