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VOA Amharic - Ato Yeshewas Assefa Has Been Arrested



Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic report taken from VOA Amharic and is intended solely for information purposes.


VOA Amharic - Ato Yeshewas Assefa Has Been Arrested


June 2, 2024

Kennedy Abate


Former chairman of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (EZEMA) party Yeshewas Assefa has been arrested. Former party official Natnael Mekonnen has been released from prison. Last December 10, 2023 (Hedar 30, 2016 EC) former head of EZEMA Yeshewas Assefa was among the political figures who announced a peaceful protest under the banner “enough civil war”, and on the night of Friday, May 31, 2024 (Ginbot 23, 2016 EC) he was arrested according to former vice chairman of Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) who spoke to Voice of America.


Former deputy head of EPRP Megabi Biluye Abraham told Voice of America that Ato Yeshewas “was returning to his residence with his spouse and two children on Friday night at 7 pm, when men wearing civilian attire who identified themselves as Addis Ababa security personnel took him to the 3rd police station formerly called Maekelawi.”


When the security forces were asked the reason for his detainment they responded, “it is known he coordinated peaceful protests, he is wanted in relation to current affairs.”


The “security personnel” who detained Ato Yeshewas Assefa did not have a court warrant with them at the time of the arrest and today they searched his residence and confiscated various documents and other materials saying “we need this for our investigations” said Megabi Biluye Abraham.


Efforts to obtain information from Addis Ababa Police regarding the arrest of Ato Yeshewas were unsuccessful as the city's police commission spokesperson did not answer their phone.


In related news, in relation to the peaceful protest that was called on December 10th (Hedar 30) and later canceled, former EZEMA official Natnael Mekonnen was arrested on December 7, 2023 (Hedar 27, 2016 EC) and had been detained for over 6 months in Awash Arba before being released today, says Megabi Biluye Abraham. He expressed that he spoke to Ato Natnael and was able to confirm that he had returned to his residence.


We had previously reported that of the four individuals detained in connection with the peaceful protests on December 7th (Hedar 27) Megabi Biluye Abraham and three others were arrested on various occasions.


Of the 13 political figures whose signatures affirmed their role as coordinators of the protests, four were arrested on March 26, 2024 (Megabit 17) including EPRP Chairman Assistant Professor Zinabu Abera, and another individual who was accused of being a coordinator but whose was not a signatory has remained detained in Awash Arba, says Megabi Biluye Abraham Haymanot.


On December 7, 2023 (Hedar 27, 2016 EC) the peace and security joint taskforce had issued a press statement saying, “97 suspects have been arrested for planning to carry out acts of terrorism under the cover of holding a peaceful protest in Addis Ababa city.” In the statement the detained suspects were accused of having ties with “extremist forces in Amhara Region and the Shene terrorist group” but did not list their names.


Following the arrest of the four individuals in connection with the peaceful protests, on December 8th (Hedar 28) the peaceful protest committee held an emergency meeting and announced the decision for the protest to be canceled, saying, “we have been forced [to cancel the protest] as a result of harassment of coordinators and the wider public by government security forces.”

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