UPDATE: (21 Oct. 2018) It is reported that Henok Aklilu and Mikael Melak have been released today, according to journalist Getu Temesgen.
The arrest of prominent Ethiopian human rights lawyers Henok Aklilu and Mikael Melak
(19 Oct. 2018) – In an action reminiscent of the TPLF era, the Addis Ababa Police under the command of Acting Mayor Takele Uma has arrested a distinguished Ethiopian human rights lawyer Henok Aklilu and his colleague Mikael Melak on October 17 this week. Their alleged crime: organizing Addis Ababa residents against the unelected acting mayor.
The arrest of the two lawyers is an outrageous act of lawlessness and a renewed attack on human rights in Ethiopia on the part of Mayor Takele Uma and his police department.
Human rights groups and several prominent Ethiopians have called for their immediate release.
Amnesty International has issued the following statement:
“The arrest of Henok and Michael highlight the difficulties human rights defenders continue to face despite the Ethiopian government’s stated commitment to open up space for dissenting voices.
“The two must be released immediately and unconditionally as they are being simply held for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association.
“Instead of arresting and harassing human rights defenders and activists, Ethiopian police should work towards ensuring a safe and enabling environment in which defending human rights can be done without fear of reprisals,” said Fisseha Tekle, Amnesty International’s Horn of Africa Researcher.