ESAT News (December 29, 2016)
Police said on Thursday that they are investigating the case of Dr. Merara Gudina, one of the leading dissidents of the TPLF-led regime, as a “terrorism offence.”
Dr. Merara Gudina, the leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress, is a prominent figure in Ethiopia’s opposition politics. He was arrested last month upon his return from Europe, where he testified at the European Parliament against the brutality and undemocratic nature of the regime in his country.
Coordinator of the international support group for the OFC, Negasso Oda, confirmed to ESAT that Dr. Gudina appeared at the Arada branch of the Federal High Court for the second time on Thursday and that police requested additional 28 days for further “investigations.”
There have been unconfirmed reports that the police has requested local banks, including Awash International Bank, to disclose account activities of Dr. Gudina related to transfer of money from abroad.
There has been a consistent pattern of labeling jailed political opponents as terrorists. Critics say that first they cook up evidence in a case of “guilty until proven innocent.”
Police first arrested Dr. Gudina saying he had violated the state of emergency by appearing at the EU Parliament with leaders of political parties declared “terrorists” by the regime, which has no tolerance for political differences, and treats any dissent as a terrorist.
Dr. Gudina appeared at the European Parliament with Dr. Berhanu Nega, the leader Patriotic ginbot 7, an armed group opposing the regime and olympic silver medalist, Feyisa Lelisa, known worldwide for displaying a protest gesture at the Rio Olympic, drawing attention to the plight of his people under a brutal government.
Meanwhile, a newly formed task forces “Free Merara” in a statement demand for the “prompt and unconditional release of Dr. Merera Gudina and all political prisoners, journalists, bloggers and human rights advocates in Ethiopia.”