Authorities urged to Release Detainees Seized under Emergency Rule

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian human rights Commission(EHRC) has called for the release of detainees seized under the state of emergency.

Ethiopian lawmakers lifted the six-month emergency rule, ahead of its expiration, with a majority of vote during their meeting on Tuesday.

The following day, EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele said that several detainees have been released, calling the move “a step in the right direction”.

“But we remain concerned about unlawful detentions after the lifting of the State of Emergency and the unfair use of remand procedure for an extended detention,” he said in a statement the Commission issued today.

The commissioner issued the statement in response to reports of continuing detentions and remand just a few hours before the 48 hours legal limit after the lifting of the state of emergency.

“If government authorities have any credible case against State of Emergency detainees, the cases should have already been brought to a court of law,” he said

Citing the example of the case against Journalist Tamerat Negera, Daniel said, “Even if there was a legal basis for journalist Tamerat’s detention, the circumstances of his continued detention with a remand order just an hour before the 48 hours legal limit, symbolizes an abuse of power and naked travesty of justice.”

The Commissioner recalled that Tamerat has been in detention for 70 days as of on December 10, 2021, and added, “there is no reasonable ground for a remand and no alleged journalistic offense should lead to any form of pre-trial detention, let alone such an extended detention.”

“The authorities should release him and all others arbitrarily detained, immediately and without precondition,” Daniel said.


Featured image Caption: Commissioner of Ethiopian human rights Commission speaking to the media. [Photo EHRC/File]