PM Hailemariam Says Merara Gudina will face justice
By Elias Meseret
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP)— Ethiopia said Monday it will not release a leading opposition figure detained under the country’s state of emergency after meeting with European lawmakers in Belgium.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters that Merara Gudina of the Oromo Federalist Congress party instead will face justice.
“Individuals in the European Parliament who are harboring anti-peace elements cannot save those who trespass the law of the country,” the prime minister said.
Merara is one of 22,000 people the prime minister said were detained under the state of emergency declared in October after widespread, sometimes deadly anti-government protests. The government has said several thousand have since been released.
Merara was arrested immediately after he returned from Belgium, where he met with the lawmakers about the state of emergency. He was accused of meeting with members of an armed Ethiopian opposition group in Brussels, an act banned under the emergency law.
Ethiopia needs to ‘consolidate gains’ before lifting emergency law, says Hailemariam Desalegn
Ethiopia needs to “consolidate gains” after the deadly unrest last year before it can lift a state of emergency that was imposed in October, the prime minister said on Monday.
“As far as the date of lifting the state of emergency is concerned, it should be seen in the perspective that we have to consolidate the gains that we have made so far,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told a news conference, noting that the measure had helped restore “normalcy”.
Rights groups have said more than 500 people were killed in violence that was initially sparked by anger over a development scheme for the capital but which broadened into anti-government demonstrations.