Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا


An Urgent Call for the Release of the Ethiopia 38

17 June 2007

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The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) invites
the urgent attention of the membership of the Council, the wider African and global social
research community, all believers in the democratic ideal, and all persons of good will to the
serious developments in Ethiopia bearing on the lives of 38 persons, all citizens of Ethiopia,
who had been arrested in the aftermath of the street protests that greeted the manipulation by
the authorities of the results of the 2005 general elections. The 38 are part of a total of 111
persons – including 25 persons who had already been forced into exile – initially charged with
an assortment of offences arising from the elections. They are mostly intellectuals drawn from
the academy, the media, and civil society organisations. It will be recalled that in the
elections, the opposition, organised under the banner of the Coalition for Unity and
Democracy (CUD) scored important gains which, through various desperate measures, the
ruling EPRDF of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, speedily thwarted and annulled. The ensuing
popular protests were brutally suppressed by the security forces and the leading figures of the
opposition, many of them intellectuals and election winners, were arrested and clamped in
prolonged detention under conditions that were, to say the least, harsh and inhumane.

Acting on the strength of the 1990 Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social
Responsibility, CODESRIA joined many other institutions and organisations in protesting the
deliberate actions of the government in subverting the will of the peoples of Ethiopia freely
expressed at the ballot box, arresting key leaders of a resurgent political opposition, and
deploying extreme violence to the quell popular protests, resulting in the deaths of scores of
people, among them students of Addis Ababa University cut down in their prime right on
their campus. The Council also appealed to the government to release all those who were
arrested and detained unconditionally. But all the appeals made fell on deaf ears and the
government, after holding the opposition figures in detention without trial for a prolonged
period, proceeded, in its own time, to charge them with treasonable actions before a tribunal
of doubtful independence. It is that tribunal that has now suddenly abridged the judicial
process and pronounced a guilty verdict on the 38 who are to be sentenced in July 2007.
There is well-founded concern within and outside Ethiopia that some or all of them could be
handed the death penalty.

CODESRIA invites all its members and other researchers and persons concerned about the
freedom of the intellectual and the principles of justice and fair play to join in the protests
which the Council is mobilising for the attention of the Ethiopian authorities and the African
Union. The expressions of concern should be addressed to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr.
Meles Zenawi and copied to the Chair of the Commission of the African Union, Mr. Alpha
Omar Konare, and sent directly to CODESRIA at the following e-mail address:
academic.freedom@codesria.sn. The Council intends to collate all letters of expression of
concern and solidarity and forward these to the appropriate quarters in Addis Ababa. The
letters will also be distributed for campaigning purposes at the upcoming summit of the
African Union holding in Accra, Ghana, in July 2007 where, in concert with other
organisations and networks, CODESRIA is determined to make the fate of the Ethiopia 38 an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the only viable way available: Their total and
unconditional freedom.

The Council invites a full and enthusiastic response to this call for solidarity with the Ethiopia
38 and for an expression of outrage at the behaviour of the Ethiopian authorities. In acting, let
us all be reminded that at this critical point in time, silence and/or indifference are not options
to be exercised and duty demands that we muster our collective solidarity to make a
difference in the fate of colleagues, courageous men and women from the academy and civil
society who dared, in accordance with the spirit of the 1990 Kampala Declaration, to be
socially engaged, won an uncommon victory, and are being persecuted by a ruling oligarchy
that is unwilling, no matter the cost, to accept the popular verdict returned by the people of
Ethiopia.

As a reminder, the 38 individuals who have been pronounced guilty by the government are:
Berhanu Alemayehu, Mamushet Amare, Andualem Aragie, Hailu Araya, Waltanigus Asnake,
Andulem Ayele, Abayneh Berhanu, Tadios Bogale, Daniel Berihun, Mesfin Debesa, Wudneh
Dechi, Befikadu Degife, Debebe Eshetu, Muluneh Eyuel, Melaku Fantaye, Nigist
Gebrehiwot, Dawit Fasil, Assefa Habtewold, Gebretsadik Hailemariam, Yacob Hailemariam,
Beruk Kebede, Aschalew Ketema, Getachew Mengistie, Bertukan Mideksa, Yeneneh Mulat,
Anteneh Mulugeta, Berhanu Nega, Hailu Shawl, Gizachew Shiferraw, Tamrat Tarekegn,
Tesfaye Tariku, Sileshi Tenna, Mesfin Tesfaye, Melaku Uncha, Abyot Waqjira, Mesfin
Woldemariam, Mulugasho Wondimu, Wonakseged Zeleke.

Adebayo Olukoshi,
Executive Secretary.




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