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Ethiopia: Political Prisoners

Volume 461: debated on Monday 11 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further steps she has taken since October 2006 to secure the release of Kifle Tigneh Abate and other opposition political leaders being detained by the Ethiopian government; and if she will make a statement. (140922)

We continue to make representations to the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that the continuing trials of all opposition political leaders, including Kifle Abate, are swift, transparent and fair, and that their individual human rights are respected.

On 11 December 2006 our Ambassador in Addis Ababa raised the case with the Ethiopian Minister and State Minister for Justice. On 3 January and 26 May he met Kifle Abate’s wife to discuss his ongoing trial.

Our Ambassador in Addis Ababa has raised the opposition trials with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on several occasions, most recently on 11 May.

Embassy officials in Addis Ababa continue to monitor Kifle Abate’s trial. At the last hearing on 14 May, the judges dismissed the charge of attempted genocide against him and released 14 of his 32 co-defendants. The court will reconvene on 19 October to consider the charge of “outrage against the constitutional order”.