Amnesty Int’l Says Delegation Expelled From Ethiopia

Posted August 31st, 2011 at 1:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Rights group Amnesty International says a group of its delegates was expelled from Ethiopia this week after meeting with two opposition leaders who have since been arrested.

Amnesty said Wednesday that a delegation of foreign members was told by Ethiopian officials on August 27 to leave the country, after it held separate meetings with the opposition leaders.

The government arrested the two leaders, Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa, the same day. Gerba was charged with involvement in a banned rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Front. The charges against Lelisa remain unclear.

Amnesty says it is worries the two men were arrested because they spoke with the delegates. It notes that Ethiopian officials have denied the allegation.

The group says the arrests are an example of the constant harassment that opposition politicians face in Ethiopia.

Human rights groups have complained frequently about abuses and oppression by the Ethiopian government. The party of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has ruled the country since 1991.

Amnesty international says its foreign delegates were under constant surveillance during the 12 days they spent in the country before being expelled.