Dr. Merera Gudina, a political science professor and former member of parliament and leader of the Oromo people in Ethiopia ha been arrested upon returning from a meeting of the European Parliament. He was tried on May 4, 2017 when his counsel objected to the charges but the prosecution denied the objection. On July 7 court is to announce its verdict.
FDRE Prime Minister
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 122 6292
We are again 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 trial and sentencing 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 30th upon his return to Ethiopia following 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”. He was tried on May 4, 2017 when his counsel submitted an objection to the charges brought against him. The prosecution denied the objection. Dr. Gudina and his counsel submitted another objection asking that the criminal charge against him be separated from the terrorism charge brought against his co-defendants. On June 21st, the prosecution submitted a response asking the court to dismiss the objection. The court is to announce its verdict on July 7th.
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.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Girma Birru
Embassy of Ethiopia
3506 International Dr. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 202 587 0195