News: Detained OLF PR officer Bate Urgessa diagnosed with Hepatitis B, Denied Access To Healthcare

Batte Urgessa, Public Relations Bureau Head, OLF

Addis Abeba-The Head of OLF public relations Bate Urgessa was diagnosed with Hepatitis B but is denied access to healthcare according to sources close to his family. 

Dirribi Demissie, the president of the Macha-Tulama association, told Addis Standard that Bate was diagnosed with Hepatitis B and the police are denying him access to medical treatment. 

The detainees who are also prominent members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)  Mikael Boren, Kenessa Ayana, Dawit Abdeta, Lemi Begna, Geda Gabisa, and the PR Bate Urgessa who were reportedly on a hunger strike for over a week and were rushed to the hospital in Addis Abeba last month. 

Dirribi added, “While Bate who is diagnosed with Hepatitis B and his condition remain to be seen,  Kenessa who is suffering from hypertension and diabetes and others who were rushed to the hospital are recovering.”

In February, Dirribi quoted the doctors as saying “The detainees are unable to eat and that they were to be resuscitated by IV fluids”. However,  the interim party’s PR, Lammi Gemechu told Addis Standard that the doctors refused to admit the detainees citing fear of taking responsibility for their lives. “They were brought back to the hospital this morning from Burayu,” Lammi said, adding, “Family members and lawyers are prevented from seeing them.” 

According to the interim PR Kenasa Ayana is unconscious while both Michale Boran and Bate Urgessa were in critical conditions when they were rushed to the hospital last month.  Batte Uregssa’s wife, Beza Haile told Addis Standard at the time, “I have no idea about the condition. My husband is in. I am very anxious.”  

According to Lammi, family members and lawyers are not allowed to contact the detainees. Family members who spoke to Addis Standard added that they didn’t have full information about their conditions and were denied visits.

The OLF  issued a statement detailing the conditions of its senior leaders whose health conditions deteriorated following the week-long hunger strike. Family members are prevented from visiting the detainees, the statement said.  OLF accused the ruling party of torturing its jailed members and said that its pleas with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to address the human rights violations were to no avail. AS

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