UN Declares Detention of Opposition Politician Andualem Aragie Arbitrary; Calls for Release

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In response to a petition filed by Freedom Now, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion finding the detention of opposition politician Andualem Aragie by the Government of Ethiopia in violation of international law. The Working Group—an independent panel of five human rights experts from around the world—called for Mr. Aragie’s release.
“We welcome the Working Group’s opinion,” said Kate Barth, Legal Director of Freedom Now. “The Ethiopian authorities have repeatedly used the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to silence legitimate political opposition members and government critics. Andualem Aragie is in prison because he dared to expose this injustice. We call on the Government of Ethiopia to respect the Working Group’s opinion and immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Aragie and his co-defendants.”
Aragie began his political career in 2000 as one of the founders of the Ethiopian Democratic Party. As part of the government crackdown following the 2005 elections, Mr. Aragie was imprisoned for more than two years at Kaliti Prison along with more than 200 opposition party members. He was released in 2007 under a general amnesty. After his release, Mr. Aragie founded the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) and again ran for parliament again in 2010.
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