AFD STATEMENT ON THE CONVICTION OF CUD LEADERS
June 14, 2007 Over the last 16 years the Ethiopian people have suffered under the tyrannical rule of EPRDF. The gross violation of human rights, the absolute disregard for the rule of law, and the general absence of basic democratic practices, like the independence of the judicial system from direct interference by the executive, has been well documented by various human rights organizations. This sad state of affairs is also well known to western governments who, despite the lofty rhetoric of championing freedom and democracy, continue to bestow external legitimacy on a regime that has completely lost legitimacy at home. The situation has been steadily deteriorating since the botched May 2005 elections in which the overwhelming majority of the people voted out the ruling party. Against popular will it however continues to cling to power by sheer force.
The Alliance for Freedom & Democracy (AFD) strongly condemns the conviction of the leaders of the Coalition for Unity & Democracy (CUD) on trumped up charges. This politically motivated, sudden and unjust verdict by the kangaroo court is another indication of the totalitarian nature of the EPRDF/TPLF regime and a sign of desperation.
Moreover, the ongoing brutal crackdown deliberately targeting the civilian population in Ogaden, the widespread arbitrary detentions of teachers, students and professionals in Oromia, Sidama and the Amhara regions and the general condition of state-perpetrated insecurity throughout the country have created a tense and potentially explosive political situation.
AFD believes the way forward is not more repression and another episode of perverting the rule of law, but rather the convening of an all-inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders leading to a peaceful transition to a more just, representative and democratic order. All past attempts at peaceful resolution of the conflicts in Ethiopia have been frustrated by the intransigence of the regime. AFD warns EPRDF/TPLF that the time of reckoning has arrived and that it will be solely responsible for all the consequences if it fails to reverse course and come to its senses.
We call on the international community to bring pressure on the TPLF regime to secure the immediate and unconditional release of the CUD leaders and all other political prisoners and heed the call for peace and reconciliation through dialogue. While the primary burden to make this regime accountable for its tyrannical acts rests with the people of Ethiopia, it is time for its backers to realize that the patience of the people to living under tyranny has been totally exhausted and that they can no longer be kept subservient even at gunpoint.
During this difficult and most trying of times the members of the AFD stand in solidarity with the unjustly convicted CUD leaders and all political prisoners languishing in the various prisons and secret detention camps of the EPRDF/TPLF and extend deep sympathy to their loved ones.
The just struggle for Freedom & Democracy in Ethiopia shall prevail!
Alliance for Freedom & Democracy (AFD)