EWHRA DENOUNCES TORTURE OF A WOMAN POLITICAL PRISONER

Washington D.C — December 23, 2010 —The Ethiopian Women’s Human Rights Alliance (EWHRA) has obtained credible evidence indicating that a woman political prisoner was tortured in the infamous Maekelawi interrogation center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mrs. Emawayesh Alemu, the sole woman prisoner convicted of participating in the 2009 alleged coup attempt, is currently serving a life sentence in Kaliti.

Credible evidence indicates that Mrs. Alemu has suffered debilitating torture including:

*Being blindfolded and handcuffed to the interrogation room;
* Being suspended by her wrists from wooden beams;
* Having her feet whipped;
* Being beaten in her inner thighs, buttocks and hands.

While all of the above mentioned torture methods are harsh, the most atrocious attacks on Mrs. Alemu include being stripped naked and beaten on her breasts with an electric rod. As a result of this torture, Mrs. Alemu is dependant on pain medications to alleviate the excruciating pain.

The intent of the interrogators is to elicit false confessions from Mrs. Alemu regarding her alleged collusion with other prisoners and to pressure her to testify against these prisoners.

EWHRA demands that the Ethiopian government immediately cease torturing Mrs. Alemu and other political prisoners and calls on the Zenawi regime to adhere to international human rights and standards on the treatment of prisoners. These brutal acts of torture constitute a complete derogation of Ethiopia’s obligations under the Convention Against Torture.

“EWHRA is outraged yet unfortunately not surprised that the Ethiopian government is using torture to try to break the spirit of the lone woman political prisoner serving time for the absurd charge of an attempted coup. The Zenawi regime has created a stifling environment in Ethiopia wherein those within the prison walls and those outside of them are terrorized by the brutal acts of a regime that has continuously been censured by the international community for its lack of adherence to international human rights standards,” said a representative of the grassroots organization.

In light of the fact that the Ethiopian government recently submitted their report to the Committee Against Torture on their alleged compliance with the terms of the Convention Against Torture, EWHRA calls upon the Committee Against Torture and other international organizations to demand that Ethiopia stop providing lip service to human rights and comply with the terms of international treaties to which she is a signatory.

Emawayesh Alemu was a mother of three and grandmother of two, when she was taken prisoner at the age of 44. She was married at the age of 13 in rural Gondar. Her experiences include working at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. During the Derg regime, she taught herself secretarial skills and worked as an assistant secretary in Gonder for government officials. After she finished high school, she also earned a
diploma in Law. Mrs. Alemu is a resident of Addis Ababa

The Ethiopian Women’s Human Rights Alliance (EWHRA) was formed in January 2009 to address the ongoing and egregious human rights violations in Ethiopia. Outraged at the massive rights abuses and concerned by the draconian law passed by the Ethiopian Parliament that is designed to silence all types of dissent and clampdown on any civil society activity, a multi-generational group of women came together to form a common platform. The goal of the organization is to mobilize against human right abuses in Ethiopia through a range of activities including policy change, letter writing campaigns and engaging international organizations. This grassroots movement relies on the effort and commitment of long time Ethiopian activists and community organizers, friends of Ethiopians, and partner organizations concerned about justice

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