Addis Abeba – Chane Kebede, the imprisoned chairman of Ethiopia’s opposition party, Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (Ezema), has been relocated to the Awash Arba Detention Center, according to a statement released by the political party yesterday.
Chane’s family, the only ones permitted to visit him by authorities, discovered about the abrupt transfer during their detention visit yesterday morning, as stated in the press release. This latest development occurred after the police once again failed to produce Chane at a scheduled court hearing at the federal first instance court, in defiance of the judge’s order for the second time within a two-week period.
Last week, the federal court instructed the police to present the detained Ezema leader and provide justifications for his ongoing captivity. However, in a letter submitted to the court, the police asserted their inability to bring Chane to the hearing or release him due to the state of emergency in effect since August of this year.
Chane was apprehended on 24 September, 2023. Previously, the party disclosed that Chane was taken into custody by the command post, which is enforcing the state of emergency that was declared on 4 August, 2023, due to an intensification of conflicts between the federal government and a non-state militia called Fano. Ezema subsequently announced that they had lawfully contested his detention by submitting a habeas corpus petition to the federal high court after consulting with his family last week.
During yesterday’s hearing, with the police once again failing to present Chane, the judge issued an arrest warrant for the responsible officer, to be executed by 30 October, and reiterated the police’s obligation to produce the detained individual. Ezema expressed concerns regarding the police’s non-compliance with both the initial and subsequent court orders, insisting that such actions undermine the principle of the rule of law. In its statement, the opposition political party urged the police to rigorously adhere to the law and regulations in their actions.
The recent statement from Ezema presents a slight deviation from its previous position released last week concerning the chairman’s arrest. In the previous statement, the party had asserted that the chairman’s detention had no connection to his leadership position within the party. AS