Ethiopia: On July 7, 2017, Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Dr. Merera Gudina, will appear in court for a scheduled hearing. Dr. Gudina has been detained since December 2016 for violating Ethiopia’s six-month state of emergency by associating with exiled opposition leaders at the European Parliament’s human rights hearing last fall. Since the initial charges were brought against him, the government moved to combine Dr. Gudina’s case with an absentia case against Jawar Mohammed, the head of the Oromia Media Network (OMN). Mohammed fled to the United States after his network was banned for their anti-government content in Ethiopia. Dr. Gudina’s lawyers are fighting the decision – which could result in a harsher sentence – and “claim any charges pressed against him should be separated” from those of OMN and ESAT.
Member of the European Parliament (EP) and World Movement for Democracy Steering Committee, Ana Gomes, criticized human rights abuses against members of the opposition, as well as Dr. Gudina’s imprisonment in a recent EP statement. Click here to join Gomes and the World Movement for Democracy in asking the Ethiopian government to #SetThemFree!
China: Last week, Liu Xiaobo, Chinese human rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate, was transferred to a hospital for liver cancer treatment, a condition worsened by his unjust prison sentence. Liu was sentenced to 11-years in prison in 2008 for “inciting subversion” after coauthoring “Charter 08,” which demanded democratic reform. Charter 08 was signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and civic leaders. His wife, Liu Xia, stated he is “beyond treatment.” To express solidarity with him, 154 Nobel Laureates signed a letter urging the President of China Xi Jinping to allow Xiaobo and his wife to travel to abroad for medical treatment. Click here to join the World Movement for Democracy, international human rights organizations, and global leaders in calling upon the Chinese government to give Xiaobo complete freedom and #SetThemFree!
Bahrain: Bahraini activist and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) Nabeel Rajab’s trial was postponed for the 14th time this year, and is now scheduled to take place on July 2, 2017. Two weeks ago, his lawyer protested the unfair treatment of Rajab by walking out on the scheduled trial, which Rajab was too ill to attend. Rajab has been in a hospital since April 2017 after undergoing surgery. His family have had no access to him and are worried he will be forced to return to prison. However, Rajab’s son remains hopeful, saying “My father is sacrificing himself to see a country which respects human rights, and he is happy to do that. I’m not exaggerating when I say he is unbreakable.” Click here to join us in sharing Rajab’s story and asking the government of Bahrain to #SetThemFree!