Afar People’s Party Press release, April 09, 2018 Unlawful and arbitrary arrest...

Afar People’s Party Press release, April 09, 2018 Unlawful and arbitrary arrest of Rashid Saalih

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Qafar Ummattah Party                                                                                    Afar People’s Party

                                                         Press release, April 09, 2018
                                                  unlawful and arbitrary arrest of Rashid Saalih

At the dawn of the reforms promised by the Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the Afar People’s
Party would like to bring the disappearance of Mr Rashid Saalih to the attention of Afar people
and international community.
Mr Rashid Saalih, an employee of Samara University, has been kidnapped by federal security
forces four months ago and his whereabouts are unknown. Mr Rashid is known as a very decent
person who has challenged the corruption and looting of the resources of Samara University.
Information indicates that his disappearance might be linked to the exposure of the sources of
the alleged fire at the main storage building of Samara University on 29 December 2016. Those
who know the internal structure of corruption at the university testified that the motive of the
fire has been to cover up the unfolding of fraud and mismanagement of the university’s budget.
If Mr Saalih is convicted of any crime, his case should be tried in legal proceedings. And as
long as there is no evidence, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Despite repeated family announcements on both social media and VoA Amharic, no
government body could take responsibility to inform his family about his condition and cause
of sudden disappearance. The Regional police reportedly said to his family that Mr Rashid was
taken into custody by federal security forces and his case was out of the regional control.
The Afar People’s Party encourage the steps taken by the Federal Court to free political
prisoners and journalists. However, we see no indication regarding the hidden human rights
violations that took place in Afar regional state. In Afar Regional State, the disappearance and
imprisonment of people do not follow legal procedures and their voices are not heard at the
national and international levels. There are prisoners in Gawani, Samara, Awash, Abaala and
other places detained for years without legal channels.
We call upon Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed to set up a Special Inquiry Commission to assess
the human rights situation in Afar Region and release all prisoners of conscience immediately
including Mr Rashid Saalih. A closed Maakelawi prison should send strong signals to the
prisons in Afar Region. Our hope is to support the new Prime Minister in creating stability,
democratizing corrupt institutions that can lead to an inclusive national dialogue that opens up
a political space.
Qafar Ummattah Party Afar People’s Party
We fear that the failure of the resolution of hidden injustices in the Afar Region and in Ethiopia
will lead to a massive protest that could disrupt Addis-Ababa/Djibouti road that in turn can
destabilize the entire country.