Jailed but not forgotten: Ethiopia’s most famous prisoner (Guardian)

Above: Almaz Gebregziabher and her granddaughter, Halley,
hold a photograph of Halley’s mother, Birtukan Mideksa, who
has been likened to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi in her fight for
democracy. (Photograph: Xan Rice)

Xan Rice in Addis Ababa
Saturday 9 January 2010
At noon every Sunday an old Toyota sedan donated by supporters of Ethiopia’s most famous prisoner pulls up near a jail on the outskirts of the capital. A 74-year-old woman in a white shawl and her four-year-old granddaughter – the only outsiders the prisoner is allowed to see – step out for a 30-minute visit. Most inmates at Kaliti prison want their relatives to buy them food. But Birtukan Mideksa, the 35-year-old leader of the country’s main opposition party, always asks her mother and daughter to bring books: an anthology titled The Power of Non-Violence, Bertrand Russell’s Best, and the memoirs of Gandhi, Barack Obama, and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese political prisoner to whom she has been compared. Read more.

5 Responses to “Jailed but not forgotten: Ethiopia’s most famous prisoner (Guardian)”

  1. 1 Sweet Fasika Jan 9th, 2010 at 2:24 am

    HI tadias readers, I personally believe injustice is made upon all of us with the so called EPRDF….. I wish 1 day our symbol of freedom will be out from jail with victory ….God be with you Birtukan…..

  2. 2 Temesgen Jan 9th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Tena yistilign,

    Why does the Guridan not explain to its readers why she is in jail in the first place. For illegally violating her pardon agreement. The western media is becoming totally pro-opposition and biased.

    In any case, it was a mistake for EPRDF to jail her. She has become more powerful in prison than when she was outside.

    Therefore, I believe she should be released, not because she is innocent, but she will be less of a political trouble for the Ethiopian people and government.


  3. 3 Jutice Jan 10th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    It is about time that Press starts to report the truth. It has not become pro-opposition, but rather it has become pro-Ethiopian people. VERY GOOD! Good for Guardian and good for the media! Birtkan is our hero! FREE Birtukan!

    All, please wear yellow in solidarity with Birtukan. Yellow is our freedom color. Free Birtukan!!!

  4. 4 Paris Jan 10th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Sixty were pardoned and she was one of them. Now she is the only one who had denied the pardone arrangemnt and has become an embarasment for them too. You can be great by doing great deeds but not by provoking authorities to get imprisoned. I found the whole episode to be childish and not productive on her part.

  5. 5 Zeyeka Mar 15th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I am baffled by the people who blame Birtukan for her jailing. It seems they are echoing the EPRDF propogand ad nauseum. First of all in any place there is a semblance of democracy and rule of law you will not see the leadership of a party that run in an election will be rounded up and thrown in jail after the election on the trampled up charges of Genocide and treason!! Not even in Kenya and Zimbabwe!! The whole sham of trial was so shoddy it runs like a comedy; when the accused asked the court if they will be allowed to have a copy of the transcripts the judges called for a 2 hr recess. When they came back from the recess the judges, intead of ruling on the request for transcripts, announced they have reached a GUILTY verdict!!

    Secondly Birtukan NEVER denied her asking pardon from the Ethiopian people and Government. The following link has her last letter before going to jail again:
    That was part of the mediation process with the Elders that led to their release. As a former Judge and a lawyer, Birtukan know Ethiopian law, and to her knowledge her paradon was not as per the law. It is confirmed by Prof Mesfin, Dr Yaqob among others her version of events was correct. Ofcourse there are many great articles written by Ethiopian lawyers analysing this issue on Awramba Times.

    My point is however you see it Bitukan’s jailing can not be justified. It nothing more than a petty attempt to intimidate the opposition if not down right tyranny beyond the pale.

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