Ethiopia: US Ambassador to UN Says Free Bekele Gerba

Ethiopia's Oromo Federalist Congress Deputy Chair Bekele Gerba. (Picture: Twitter/‏@AmbassadorPower)


By: Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Launch of #FreeToBeHome Political Prisoner Campaign

This holiday season, as families in the United States gather, we are reminded of all the missed holidays, bittersweet birthdays, and family occasions where a mother, brother, friend, or neighbor was missing because a government chose to muzzle their voices and lock them up.

So throughout this holiday season, the United States government will be profiling the cases of prisoners unjustly held around the world and the families they leave behind. The stories of these individuals will highlight the broader struggle faced by so many families of political prisoners, who have to commemorate countless family occasions with loved ones behind bars.

These prisoners represent thousands of other prisoners unjustly detained around the world. (

Authorities detained Oromo Federalist Congress Deputy Chairman Bekele Gerba on December 23, 2015 and later charged him along with more than 20 others under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. There were reports that authorities mistreated Bekele and others, including denying them adequate medical care and access to visitors including legal counsel. Bekele Gerba is one of thousands detained following the start of protests in November 2015.

We call on the Government of Ethiopia to release all political prisoners and ensure all Ethiopians enjoy the protections of their constitutional rights.

Ethiopia govt spokesman says 9,800 detained under state of emergency released (AP)
Leader of Ethiopia’s OFC Oppostion Party, Merera Gudina, arrested after trip to Europe (BBC)

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