URGENT ACTION: OROMO OPPOSITION LEADE R AT RISK OF TORTURE
Ethiopian authorities detained the leader of the Oromo Liberation Front, Abdi Regassa, on 29 February 2020. He was held incommunicado for 72 hours and remains imprisoned without charges. Mr Abdi Regassa has been held in detention for reasons that remain unknown. He has not been informed of the charges against him.
Under international human rights standards, anyone who is arrested or detained must be
informed of the reasons why they are being deprived of their liberty at the time of their arrest.
International standards also require that individuals are brought before a judge promptly after
arrest or detention. However, based on the information available to Advocacy for Oromia, as
of 29 February the authorities had not formally informed Mr Abdi Regassa of the grounds for
his detention nor had they brought him before a court.
Furthermore, authorities did not provide Mr Abdi with access to his family or a phone call until
72 hours after his detention. People held in custody are entitled to notify a third person that
they have been detained. Ethiopian authorities have imprisoned, harassed and intimidated
Oromo politicians and activists for more than fifteen decades due to their political activism.
We believe that such detention without access to the outside world facilitates torture.
The Ethiopian security forces picked Mr Abdi from his home after he returned home with the
OLF leadership on Sept 15, 2018. Mr Abdi is a selfless man who chose to give all he has for
Oromo cause for more than thirty years. Advocacy for Oromia affirms Mr Abdi Regassa is a
prisoner of conscience who was imprisoned solely for remains committed to the Oromo cause.
Reports suggest he may have been tortured while in detention, something Advocacy for
Oromia has not been able to verify in a context where the judiciary are fully controlled by the
Executive. Advocacy for Oromia requests the government to unconditional release and access
to legal counsel and family while in custody. Mr Abdi doesn’t belong in jail. Mr Abdi is an
Oromo hero; he is the future of Oromo leadership.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION
Mass mobilisation is needed to ensure that the Ethiopian authorities release him, and refrain
from potentially taking actions that may amount to ill-treatment against him. Please show
your SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT for him in every way you can: changing your social media
profile, and campaigning for justice. If you are in Oromia, show up at the police station. Be
peaceful. Have his picture. Demand his release. If you are elsewhere, use your social media
platforms and demand that justice be done.
Free Abdi Ragassa, now!
Abdi Ragaassaa, the Sin-Qua-Non of Oromo Struggle Against Injustice.
By Dr Bedassa Tadesse
Abdi is not a person of several words. He doesn’t talk much. He doesn’t complain either. He is humble, intelligent and far sighted. I can say so because I know the person he is since the time we both were high school students at Ambo, the land of the braves.
After high school, he made it the university. Upon his graduation, like many of us, he had all opportunities ahead of him. He did not choose comfort over pain, or luxury over sacrifice. He chose to give all he has for Oromo cause. He did not have to, but he did. For that alone, I respect him a lot. We adore him.
Abdi is a selfless man, an embodiment of what it takes to be in the class of today’s leadership of the OLF. He has a firmness of purpose and the resolve to achieve it. He has a resolution to overcome obstacles. He remains committed to the Oromo cause. Thirty years in the making and counting for more.
There was no bullet the EPRDF regime didn’t fire at him. Some of the bullets might have gone through his bones and others through his flesh. To the dismay of all those who targeted him, he survived them all. There was no government security apparatus that was not directed to silence him. He dodged them all becoming the revered person he is today both among his enemies and his colleagues.
Abiy Ahmed and Lamma Magarsa very well knew that. I have no doubt, the wicked and wishful thinkers they are, they envy him day and night. It is also my understanding that as they very well know wishes wouldn’t be horses, they understand that they would never have anything in real life that equates them with him, nor the respect Oromos of all ages would have for Abdi.
Here the wicked and weak they are, they picked Abdi from his home after he returned home to peacefully compete agaist the enemies of Oromo, laying his arms down and leaving behind thousands of OLA members he trained to emulate himself.
Abdi doesn’t belong in jail. Abdi is an Oromo hero; the future of Oromo leadership. Free Abdi Ragassa, now!