February 20, 2017

Political Science Professor and Former Member of Parliament Arrested

Dr. Merera Gudina, a political science professor who is also a former Member of Parliament and a leader in asserting the political interests of the Oromo people of Ethiopia, was arrested on November 30 upon his return to Ethiopia after a meeting at the European Parliament.

We believe he was detained because of his association at that meeting with Olympic marathon silver-medalist Feyisa Lilesa and Dr. Berhanu Nega, an opposition leader your government has designated a “terrorist”. We call for his immediate and unconditional release.

January 11, 2017

Hailemariam Dessalegn
FDRE Prime Minister
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 122 6292

Your Excellency:

I am writing on behalf of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.

We are extremely concerned about the arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina, a political science professor who is also a former Member of Parliament and a leader in asserting the political interests of the Oromo people of Ethiopia. He was arrested on November 30 upon his return to Ethiopia after a meeting at the European Parliament, and we believe he was detained because of his association at that meeting with Olympic marathon silver-medalist Feyisa Lilesa and Dr. Berhanu Nega, an opposition leader your government has designated a “terrorist”.

Though initially it was claimed that Dr. Gudina had been detained for violating the current “State of Emergency”, late last month his detention was extended and it has been reported that he may now face terrorism charges. His detention may be extended again for 28 days at his next hearing on January 26.

Ethiopia joined the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) over 20 years ago, and your government is thus obligated to protect citizens’ rights to free expression and association. It appears clear to us that our colleague Dr. Gudina has been arrested for peaceful political activity, and, unless strong evidence emerges to the contrary, we call on you to secure his immediate and unconditional release.

Sincerely,

Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer

Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists

Copies to:

Ambassador Girma Birru
Embassy of Ethiopia
3506 International Dr. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 202 587 0195
Email: ethiopia@ethiopianembassy.org