Some medias and eminent personalities have recently expressed their concerns regarding the detention of Dr Merera Gudina in Ethiopia. We felt it is important to explain the reasons of this arrest and give more clarity about the current situation in Ethiopia.
Dr Merera Gudina was arrested on 1st of December in Addis Ababa for violating directives of the state of emergency. The state of emergency was declared in October to restore peace and order and put an end to the unrests that unfolded in different parts of the country.
This state of emergency was declared for a period of six months according to the constitutional provisions of the country. Since then, peace and security were restored in the country, and some restrictions have already been lifted. In addition to that, after taking note of these progresses, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have eased their travel advices to Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian authorities are committed to guarantee the constitutional order and the rule of law, a precondition for democracy. This is precisely the reason why a state of emergency had to be implemented, prohibiting among others any communication of citizens with organizations proscribed as terrorists.
Despite his awareness of these provisions, Dr. Merera Gudina allegedly met and discussed with the leader of a group listed as terrorist in Brussels from 7-9 November 2016. Hence, the arrest of Dr Merera Gudina is not related with the meeting in the European Parliament but the alleged discussion with the leader of a terrorist group. If this meeting is confirmed by the investigation, this would have to be considered as a clear and deliberate violation of the state of emergency.
We understand the concern of our friends and partners, and kindly request them to respect the government’s responsibility to ensure law and order on the case of Dr Merera Gudina and to wait for the completion of the investigation. The government respects the presumption of innocence and did not qualify Dr Merera Gudina of being “criminal” or otherwise.