News: OLF leaders on hunger strike rushed to hospital in capital

Addis Abeba – The jailed leaders of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) who are reportedly on a hunger strike for over a week were rushed to the hospital in Addis Abeba Dirribi Demissie the president of Macha-Tulama association told Addis Standard. OLF’s senior leaders like Mikael Boren, Kenessa Ayana, Dawit Abdeta, Lemi Begna, Geda Gabisa, and the former PR Bate Urgessa who are currently detained in Burayu were taken to Federal Police hospital in Lideta, Dirribi said. 

According to Dirribi, the leaders were brought to the hospital last night. Dirribi quoted the doctors as saying the detainees are unable to eat and that they were to be resuscitated by IV fluids. The public relations head of the party, Lammi Gemechu however told Addis Standard that the doctors refused to admit citing fear of taking responsibility for their lives. “They were brought back to the hospital this morning from Burayu,” Lammi said, adding, “Family members and lawyers are prevented from seeing them.” 

The PR quoted a health professional who divulged that Kenasa Ayana is unconscious while Michale Boran and Bate Urgessa are in critical conditions.  Batte Uregssa’s wife, Beza Haile told Addis Standard, “I have no idea about the condition my husband is in. I am very anxious.” Dirribii on his part said that a team of elders who previously went to the detention center pleaded with the detainees to end the hunger strike. “They told us they prefer dying than suffer a never-ending injustice,” he recounted. 

The OLF yesterday issued a statement detailing the conditions of its senior leaders whose health deteriorated following the week-long hunger strike. Family members are prevented from visiting the detainee, the statement said.  OLF accused the ruling party of torturing its jailed members and stated that its pleas to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to address the human rights violations were to no avail. AS

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