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News: Concerns mount over well-being of detained MP, Councilmen

MP Christian Tadele, Concilmen Yohannes Buayalew and Kassa Teshager (PhD) (Photo:Social Media)

Addis Abeba – Relatives and legal representatives of Christian Tadele, a member of the House of People’s Representatives; Yohannes Buayalew, a member of the Amhara Region Council; and Kassa Teshager, a member of the Addis Abeba City Council, have expressed their concerns to Addis Standard regarding their whereabouts. It has been two weeks since anyone has had any knowledge of their current location, escalating worries about their well-being and safety.

Christian’s relative, speaking anonymously for safety reasons, shared that initially the family was allowed to provide food and supplies to him at the federal police commission crime investigation bureau. However, on 21 August, they were abruptly informed that he had been moved to an undisclosed location without any further information. The relative expressed their deep distress at the lack of knowledge about Christian’s fate, urging for immediate access and information to confirm his health and well-being.

Similar accounts were shared by family members of Yohannes Buayalew, who stated that he was initially detained in Bahir Dar and then transferred to Addis Abeba by helicopter. Initially, they were allowed to provide him with food while he was held at the federal police commission crime investigation bureau, but on 21 August, they were denied access without any explanation. The family is unsure if he has been taken to Awash Arba prison, and the lack of information is extremely agonizing for them.

The family of Kassa Teshager also recounted the distressing manner in which he was detained on 04 August, with police officers arriving at his house and detaining him in front of his child without providing any explanation. Concerned family members of other detainees, including journalists Bekalu Alamrew and Wetetu Desaleng, have also expressed their apprehensions.

All family members who shared their concerns with Addis Standard have sought assistance from the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Initially, the EHRC assured them that an active investigation was underway but later informed them that the case exceeded their operational capacity.

Attorney Henock Aklilu, representing most of the detainees, revealed to Addis Standard that the EHRC had sent an investigative team to the location of detention, but they faced obstacles that impeded a thorough inquiry. “However, the EHRC was informed that the detainees were in satisfactory health.”

On 29 August, Tarikua Getachew, the legal and policy director of the EHRC, informed Voice of America that Christian, Yohanes, and Kassa had been relocated to Awash Arba prison. Additionally, Daniel Bekele, head of the Human Rights Commission, confirmed to Addis Standard that a visit to the detainees has been scheduled for 01 September, during which further information will be disclosed.

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The individuals, were arrested under the six-month state of emergency declared in the Amhara region, suspected of “carrying out various illegal activities” in cities and “providing logistical and financial support by taking a duty from the armed group”.

In its most recent statement issued on 26 August, the command post, established to oversee the six-month state of emergency, stated that the region is now “relieved of the risk of destruction and disintegration and is returning to its previous state of normalcy.” The command post reiterated its commitment to conclude the ongoing “law enforcement operation” in a short period and create a favorable environment for the regional administration.

Following a period of relative calm, however, fighting has resurfaced in several cities within the Amhara region in the past few days. According to residents interviewed by Addis Standard, this has resulted in multiple fatalities and numerous injuries in cities such as Finote Selam, Debre Markos, and Debre Tabor.AS

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