Subject: EHRCO accuses government of murder

Source: AFP - July 07, 1995

An Ethiopian human rights group accused Friday the transitional government of carrying out or commissioning summary executions, disappearances and other human rights violations.

In its report covering the June 1994-June 1995 period, the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHCRO) claimed 14 people had been executed by President Meles Zenawi's ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) alliance in various parts of the country.

One particular case cited in the report is that of Siraj Musa Obse, found at home by his family "with one bullet in his right eye and another in his stomach."

In February, the authorities said he had been killed while fleeing the security forces after clashes broke out between rival Moslem groups at the Great Mosque in Addis Ababa. The official toll from the unrest was put at nine dead and 129 injured.

The EHRCO rejected the figures and the government's version of events. "It's hard to believe Siraj, an elderly man who could not move without the use of a walking stick, was killed by security forces while trying to run away from the law."

"It also makes one think that the perpetrators of such inhuman deeds and criminal acts enjoy the full support and protection of the state," the report said.

Also included in the report are alleged accounts of 25 disappearances, 440 arbitrary arrests and seven cases of torture.

The organization itself claims the authorities are trying to impede its activities, saying its bank account has been frozen.

"Three and a half years ago, EHCRO had entered into a contract with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia which had been operating without any difficulties until recently," the report said.

In March, relations between the EHCRO and the authorities deteriorated after the organization published a book highly critical of the Ethiopian government entitled "Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights in Ethiopia: Rhetoric and Practice".

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