Resolve Ogaden Coalition Immediate Press Release
Resolve Ogaden Coalition Condemns the Illegal Arrest and Conviction of U.N. Worker Abdurahman Sheikh Hassan
For the past decade, the Ethiopian regime under the leadership of Meles Zanawi has been committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the many peoples of Ethiopia. These heinous crimes are being committed as result of the accommodation, funding and support Ethiopia receives from the International community and western nations in particular. Systemic campaign of repression has been highly reported by credible and prestigious human rights and media organizations around the world; however, the International Community chooses to ignore the death and destruction of thousands of people, and the displacement of millions in Ethiopia, particularly in the Ogaden region.
The Ethiopian regime under Meles Zanawi has violated and committed a grave injustice against a U.N worker operating in Eastern Ethiopia, Abdurahman Sheikh Hassan. Hassan was vital in the release of two World Food Program (WFP) workers working in the Ogaden, after the Ethiopian military and their sponsored (Janjaweed like/Liyuu Police) militias ambushed the campsite of the workers, who then fled into the hands of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) for safety.
Hassan, who was crucial in negotiating with the ONLF for their safe release, was charged this week with terrorism and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Hassan, the head of UN security in Ethiopia’s Ogaden was refused due process and denied a fair trial. Hassan was illegally imprisoned and falsely charged for doing his job; a job that was allocated to him by the government.
Since 2005, the Meles Zanawi regime has been arbitrarily arresting journalists, students, politicians, religious leaders, and opposition members with false charges of terrorism. In December, two Swedish journalists were sentenced to 11 years in prison after an Ethiopian court found them guilty of supporting terrorism. Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism legislation not only violates its own constitution but the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the regimes new weapon to use against anyone it disapproves of.
As we have in the past, we urge the International community to take action as it did in Sudan and put an end to the gross human rights violations taking place in Ethiopia. We appeal to the United Nations, the United States and Great Britain to openly condemn this illegal imprisonment and unwarranted conviction of a respected U.N. worker. We strongly urge them to intervene and pressure the Meles Zanawi regime to immediately halt this campaign of terror and oppression against the civilian population of Ethiopia, particularly in the Ogaden region. Next, we call upon all western nations to stop their financial and political support to the Ethiopian regime. Finally, we urge all human rights and humanitarian organizations to get involved and step up their efforts and campaigns in raising awareness about the dire humanitarian and human rights crisis taking place in the Ogaden, and many other parts of Ethiopia.
Resolve Ogaden Coalition will continue to exhort pressure on the International Community, Western donors, and the Ethiopian government to end the human suffering in the Ogaden region.
Resolve Ogaden Coalition is a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending the conflict in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia through the promotion of peace, human rights, democracy, and social and economic development; through advocacy and education; and through a comprehensive peace agreement leading to a referendum on the Ogaden peoples’ right to self determination.
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