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News: OLF warns transgression of international conventions after senior officials go missing from police custody

Missing OLF leaders. Left: Kennasa Ayana, who “cannot walk due to ailments sustained after he was detained”.

Addis Abeba – The opposition party Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has warned that “the act of hiding prisoners from their families and close follow-up and blockage of their right to be attended to by legal bodies is a massive transgression of international conventions related to people under detention and other human rights instruments.”

The party said this in a statement it released regarding seven members of its senior officials who went missing from police custody in Burayu, Oromia Special Zone Surrounding Finfinne, on the evening of 18 April.

The whereabouts of OLF Executive Committee members Abdi Regassa and Michael Boran, its Central Committee member Kenasa Ayana, and its Gulele main office head Gada Oljira (PhD), as well as senior officials Dawit Abdeta, Lemmi Begna and Gada Gebissa remains unknown since they went missing.

“Such irresponsible and inhumane treatment of detainees who need close medical attention reveals the blatant human rights abuses by the government,” the party said today.

They acquitted court orders for their release or are held without charges brought against them at all. Furthermore, CC member Kennasa Ayana “cannot walk due to ailments sustained after he was detained. His doctor recommended for better place and treatment where he could recuperate,” the OLF said today, the “inhumane treatment of political detainees and belittling legal institutions is the hallmark of abusive regimes.”

In May last year, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released a report following an investigation into the detention of the party’s leaders in various detention centers in Oromia. The report confirmed that many OLF leaders and members are “illegally detained” and were subjected to abuse. “EHRC found that some of the detainees, who had been in detention for months to two years, had been subjected to various forms of abuse and ill-treatment,” the Commission said.

The OLF has been repeatedly demanding the release of its leaders since they were imprisoned in 2019, and at times accusing the police of torturing them while in detention. AS

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