Will the EU embark in the farse, by observing Ethiopian elections while main opposition leader is jailed for life? – Free Birtukan Medeksa
Member of the European Parliament
At the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting this week in Tenerife (Canary Island, Spain), MEP Ana Gomes (S&D, Portugal) questioned the European Commission on the credibility of the coming elections in Ethiopia if, apart from the lack of media freedom and other crucial conditions, the leader of the main opposition party could not run for the elections for having been thrown in jail, for life, by the regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Commissioner Piebalgs, responsible for Development, stated that the imprisonment of “popular” Ms. Birtukan Medeksa “can undermine the credibility of elections” and that that view had been conveyed by the EU Commission to the Ethiopian authorities. Nevertheless, he informed, High Representative Ashton had just made the decision to send a EU Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia.
For Ana Gomes this is “disturbing news”.
“I fear the EU will embark in legitimising a farse. As Head of the EU Election Observation Mission in 2005 I know that Meles Zenawi regime, despite all the rethoric on transition to democracy and development, only seeks international endorsement to continue its oppressive and repressive rule in Ethiopia”, Ana Gomes said.
Ana Gomes noted that Ms. Birtukan Medeksa, a 36 years old African woman politician and a young mother, was jailed for a pretext which cannot be a crime in any democratic country She was sentenced for life in 2008 for having publicly stated that she was forced to sign a pardon request, upon which in 2007 she was released from jail, where she had been since the massive opposition arrests in the aftermath of the 2005 elections.
MEP Gomes also alerted to reports that Ms. Birtukan Medeksa is now being denied medical assistance in Kaliti prison.