Mr. Dhabessa Wakjira
Advocacy4Oromia.org: The following is a statement by Mr. Dhabessa Wakjira, an Oromo journalist and community worker, on the Oromia Support Group-Australia’s fundraising night about his life story and his firsthand experiences with human rights violations in Oromia, Ethiopia.
As most of you would know, my name is Dhabessa Wakjira, and I’m going to deliver a few words; just to give you an overview of my life history, my experiences with human rights issues and the purpose of [Oromia Support Group-Australia’s] trip to Geneva.
I was born in a rural village of central Oromia in 1974. I’m a father of three: two daughters and a son. I am a journalist and community worker. I worked in the Ethiopian Television, Oromo Desk, as a reporter, as a program producer, as a program desk coordinator and as a deputy editor-in-chief of ETV Assignment Desk for more than 10 years. However, my professional journey was aborted from the moment I was abducted from my office by a group of soldiers on the 30th of April 2004 at 5:00pm.
My understanding of the reasons for my detention, rooting from the interrogation, was suspicion for passing information and sympathizing with the Oromo Liberation Front. In connection to this, I was detained for three years in five detention centres, and appeared in front of court for 125 times at six different courts for one and the same case.
For the same reason, my wife, Lelisse Wodajo, was also arrested on the 30th of October 2008 at 11:00am from the same office, and interrogated and persecuted at the same centre for the same reason. She was also detained for three years in the same detention centres, and appeared in front of the same court for the same duration for one and the same case.
The typical nature of the present Ethiopian government system is well known by the trick of, ‘arrest first, then find evidence later’ which is directly against the rule of law. There are also the intrusive actions, such as arrests of individuals, search of individual’s house, and confiscate of property without legal warrant. After arrest of individuals without warrant, organizing false witnesses from intelligent networks, local administrations, and police stations over the innocents are also another common scandal of the system.
As I looked back at my survival story, I freshly remember the persecution, prejudice, and discrimination that had continued and existed for a century in my country. In my country, someone would be hunted and imprisoned for holding different political beliefs.