Protest Over Activist's Slaying

Geneva - The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Ethiopia.

Brief description of the situation :

The International Secretariat has been informed by reliable sources of
their grave concerns over the extra judicial or arbitrary execution of
Ato Assefa Maru (37), human rights activist, member of both the
Executive Committee of the Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA) and the
Executive Committ ee of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council.

According to the information received, Ato Assefa Maru was surrounded
and shot with a kalashinkov, an automatic gun, and a hand grenade by
several policemen on 8 May 1997 while he was walking home in Woreda 12
Kebele 06 to his office in Addis Ababa. It is alleged that the policemen
did not orde r Ato Assefa Maru to stop nor did they fired any warning
shots, but deliberately aimed at his head and chest. Following his death
his body was searched and his briefcase was taken away by the policemen.

According to the information received, approximately twenty-five minutes
after Ato Assefa Maru, was killed, policemen searched his house and took
away tape cassettes and Ethiopian Human Rights Council and ETA papers.
At the same time at the ETA office, policemen detained on the premises
34 pers ons including ETA's leaders and staff as well as others who had
gone there for private business. The following day, policemen came back
with a search warrant and searched the offices and took away documents,
while the staff were denied access to the office.

The Federal Police Investigation Coordination Department has apparently
claimed that members of an anti-peace group which calls itself the
Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front have been taken into custody and that Ato
Assefa Maru, who they claimed had replaced the Front's leader and had
been co-ordin ating its activities, was shot dead while trying to

The sources strongly refute the suggestion that Ato Assefa Maru was a
member of the Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front. During the house search,
no fire arms were found.

Action requested: Please write to the Ethiopian Authorities requesting
that they:

i. take immediate action to guarantee the physical and psychological
integrity of all 34 persons mentioned above;

ii. order their immediate release if they are still detained without
valid charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before a competent
and impartial tribunal and guarantee their full procedural rights;

iii. guarantee an impartial and exhaustive enquiry into the death of Ato
Assefa Maru and the other events described above, identify those
responsible, bring them to trial, and apply the penal, civil, and/or
administrative sanctions provided by law;

iv. take all necessary measures to guarantee the family's right to

v. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms in accordance with national laws and international standards.

Addresses: His Excellency S.E. M. Fisseha Yimer Aboye, ambassador of the
Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Permanent Mission, Rue de Moillebeau 56,
P.O. Box 338, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax : + 740 11 29

His Excellency Dr Negaso Gidada, President of the Federal Republic of
Ethiopia, Office of the President, P O Box 1031, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Fax : + 2511 552030

Mr. Mahteme Solomon, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, P O Box
1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Fax : + 2511 550722

Geneva, 4 June 1998

For further information, contact Ben Schonveld, Projects Manager
OMCT-SOS-Torture Fax 4122 733 1051 Ph 4122 733
3140. OMCT is l'Organisation Mondiale contre la Torture / The World
Organisation Against Torture.

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