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News: Vice-chairman of Finfinnee Renaissance Association missing after detained by security forces

By Natinael Fite

Addis Abeba: Henock Dejene, Vice-chairman of the Finfinnee Renaissance Association, was taken from his home by security forces a week ago by security forces who said he was wanted “in connection with current affairs”; since then he has not appeared in court and his whereabouts remain uncertain, his family told Addis Standard

Henock was taken from his home by security forces on 10 July 2022. Speaking on the events surrounding his arrest, the family member who wants to remain anonymous said, “two individuals dressed in civil clothes came in and told him to get dressed; [they also] took his phone and arrested him without offering any clarifications as to why.”

The plain clothes individuals were not in possession of a court warrant but only showed him their security IDs. “After taking him, they returned with the police and searched the house, during their search, they found and confiscated a flag of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and a picture of Jawar Mohammed.”

The family member also said that during the search, both the Ethiopian and OLF flags were found however, only the OLF flag was registered as ‘OLF Shane flag’, Henock protested and was able to sign a declaration that the flag found was only that of the OLF, which is a legally-registered party. 

On the day of his arrest, he was taken to the police station near Adwa bridge in Addis Abeba and later on transferred to the police station in Yeka Woreda 07. “On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, he was scheduled to appear at the Lideta court but he didn’t. We have been visiting him till July 12, after which he went missing.”

“our deputy chairman, Henock Dejene, for reasons unclear to date, was taken and his whereabouts remain unknown to his family and members of the association, causing much distress…”

Finfinnee Renaissance Association

The family expected that he would be taken to court with other people. “The next day, when we went to the prison, they told us he had been taken to Abba Samuel prison in the evening. We went there too, but we were notified that he might have been taken to Awash 7.”

Henock Dejene, a father of three and a civil servant, was previously detained for a day but released soon after afterward. But now not knowing where Henock is has put “a lot of mental stress” on the family.

Finfinnee Renaissance Association is a legally recognized association in accordance with Proclamation No. 1113/2011. The association is focused on activities around developing Oromo culture and norms on voluntary basis.  

The Association released a statement on its Facebook page saying “our deputy chairman, Henock Dejene, for reasons unclear to date, was taken and his whereabouts remain unknown to his family and members of the association, causing much distress. Thus, we are requesting the government to notify us about the location and condition Henock is in, and similarly, if he has committed a crime, we ask for the respect of the legal court procedures in that regard.’’ AS 

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