Human Rights Watch | 15 March 2016
by Felix Horne
A year ago today, Ethiopian security forces arrested Pastor Omot Agwa and six colleagues at Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport and took them to the notorious Maekelawi police station, where torture is routine.
The arrest came several months after Omot, a respected activist from Ethiopia’s Gambella region, served as translator for the World Bank Inspection Panel. The panel investigated the Anuak indigenous people’s allegation that the Ethiopian government was committing widespread forced displacement and other serious human rights violations in relation to a World Bank project in Gambella.
The authorities eventually released four of the seven, but Omot, Ashine Astin, and Jamal Oumar Hojele were charged on September 7, under Ethiopia’s draconian counterterrorism law. The seven had been on their way to a food security workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, organized by international groups. It was described in the charge sheet as a “terrorist group meeting.”