26 January 2009 – In his January 15, 2009 letter addressed to Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paul Dewar, MP, Ottawa Centre and the NDP”s Foreign Affairs Critic, stated that: “NDP believes that the Government of Canada must call on the Ethiopian authorities to release Birtukan Mideksa immediately and unconditionally, unless she is charged with a recognizable criminal offence”.
By clearly stating the details around Ms. Mideksa”s arrest on December 28, 2008 without charge and the harrowing life she has been subjected to in solitary confinement for the mere exercise of her freedoms, Mr. Dewar unequivocally labeled Miss Mideksa as “a prisoner of conscience.”
He further expressed his concern about the fact that Miss Mideksa has not been provided access to legal representation of her own choosing. Hence, gravely concerned about solitary confinement and the denial of her rights to legal council, Mr. Dewar expressed his concern to the Foreign Minister stating: “I am deeply concerned that Ms. Mideksa is at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.” In his closing remarks, Mr. Dewar urged the foreign ministry for an immediate action stating that: “Canada’s NDP believes that the Government of Canada must call on the Ethiopian authorities to release Birtukan Mideksa immediately and unconditionally,” adding: unless she is charged with a recognizable criminal offence.”
It is to be remembered that two other Canadian parliamentarians – The Hon. Maria Minna (Toronto) and Hon. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg) responded to SOCEPP Canada’s similar appeals and have issued letters urging the Prime Minister of Canada to intervene on January 19 and 15, respectively. These two letters were posted on the web to the general public. Both parliamentarians called for the immediate and unconditional release of Birtukan Mideksa. The details of the two strongly worded letters can be found posted on various websites.
SOCEPP- Canada is grateful and appreciative of the action of the three Canadian Parliamentarians and others who continue to be a voice for the voiceless in Ethiopia. WE continue to urge the Government of Canada and the international community to continue using their influence and demand the respect of basic rights and the rule of law in Ethiopia including the immediate release of Birtukan Mideksa, Chair of the UDJP, Tsegaye Gebremedhin (and Compatriots), Leader/s of the EPRP, the popular Ethiopian singer and icon: Teddy Afro, Mr. Bekele Jarso (Oromo Federalist Party) and many others who continue to languish in prison under inhumane conditions only because of their political beliefs and for exercising their internationally recognized human rights. We urge Canadians of Ethiopian origin and all others who stand for Human Rights and Justice in Ethiopia to continue writing to their members of parliament urging them to demand the end of human rights abuse.
P. O. BOX 413, STATION – E., TORONTO, ON (Canada) M6H 4E3