Ethiopian Satellite Television
Ethiopian torture victim says Tedros Adhanom unsuitable to lead WHO
(Washington, DC) A former Ethiopian prisoner of conscience, who endured solitary confinement, physical and mental abuse in jail, has written a letter to the World Health Assembly opposing the candidacy of Dr. Tedros Adhanom, an executive council member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the core of the ruling tyranny in Ethiopia.
Award-winning journalist Reeyot Alemu, who was one of the first victims of the anti-terrorism law, says the World Health Organization (WHO) is facing a risk of losing its credibility if it elects Dr. Adhanom as its Director-General. She blamed the top-leaders of the ruling party, including Dr. Adhanom for gross human rights violations, abuse of power and corruption.
“I fear that WHO’s reputation will be tarnished and its credibility questioned if it elects Dr. Tedros Adhanom. The fact that Dr. Adhanom, one of the top human rights violators making life miserable to the people of Ethiopia, has managed to be the last three candidates, bidding to take over the position of Director-General, is very troubling and alarming.
” Alemu, currently working for U.S.-based Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio as a show host and producer, was convicted of “terrorism” charges for writing critical articles and taking pictures of anti-government graffiti. She was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, which was reduced to five years on appeal.
“I was arbitrarily detained on June 21, 2011 until I was freed without explanation in July 2015, a few days before former U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ethiopia. Abused, tortured and mistreated, I spent over four years or 1480 days of my life in the notorious Kalati jail,” she wrote.
She alleges that she was denied of access to painkillers, let alone basic medical care, despite the fact that she was suffering from an excruciating breast malignancy, which was feared of growing into cancer. Dr. Adhanom served the regime as health minister (2005 to 2012) and served as a foreign minister from November 2012 to November 2016.
Dr. Adhanom was also a cabinet minister of the ruthless dictator Meles Zenawi for nearly a decade. Zenawi was not alone but used accomplices and enablers like Dr. Adhanom. After jailing opponents and crippled civil society, Adhanom has defended everything the regime has done as the foreign minister of this ruthless regime besides being accused of hiding cholera outbreaks during his ministerial tenures,” noted.
She expressed her belief that appointing Adhanom, whom she described as an active participant of human rights violations and crimes against humanity, as Director-General of WHO “is ignoring the pains and suffering of the oppressed people of Ethiopia.
” She appealed to the World Health Assembly to reject the candidacy of Adhanom. “Someone like Adhanom, who played a key role in causing the suffering and abuse of fellow human beings can never have the caliber and integrity needed to lead a global institution whose mission is the attainment of the highest possible level of health by every human being,” she wrote.
Alemu won several awards for her courage and commitment to press freedom. The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) bestowed a Courage in Journalism Award on her in 2012. She also won Human Rights Watch’s Hellman/Hammett press freedom prize in the same year.
Alemu was awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to honor her exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression in May 2013.
For Further information
Reyot Alemu email@example.com
Daniel Abebe firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. 650 924 2540