Ethiopia: Bekele Gerba and six others released from jail

by Engidu Woldie

ESAT News (February 13, 2018)

A leading Oromo opposition leader Bekele Gerba and six other members of the Oromo Federalist Congress and dissidents were released today, on the second day of a “stay-at-home” protests in the Oromo region which among others demanded the release of all political prisoners.

Bekele Gerba

The organ of the TPLF regime, Fana Broadcasting Corporation, first broke the news of the release which was followed by confirmations from Oromo media and activists.

The office of the General Prosecutor yesterday announced that the case involving Bekele Gerba, Gurmesa Ayana, Addisu Bulala, Dejene Taffa, Getu Garuma, Tesfaye Liben, and Beyene Ruda was terminated and had been sent to the Pardon Board.

Bekele Gerba and 20 others were thrown to jail in April 2015 at the height of protests in the Oromo region accused of inciting unrest, uprising, civil war and terrorism, charges Gerba vehemently denies. The charges were later reduced to criminal offences.

Bekele Gerba, who was the general secretary of the Oromo Federalist Congress, served almost five years between 2011 and 2015 when he was accused of being a member of the Oromo Liberation Front. He was arrested again on terrorism charges in April 2015 at the climax of protests in the Oromo region.

The Ethiopian regime has a long record of charging opponents citing the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle dissent.