Ethiopian political scientist Dr. Merera Gudina released from prolonged detention
January 18, 2018
Dr. Merera Gudina—a former professor of political science at Addis Ababa University, former member of Parliament, and prominent opposition leader—was released on January 17, following 13 months in detention.
On November 30, 2016, Dr. Merera was arrested in Addis Ababa upon his return from Belgium, where he had testified before the European Parliament (EP) about the human rights situation under the then state of emergency in Ethiopia. The EP had invited other Ethiopian activists—including athlete Feyisa Lilesa and Berhanu Nega, leader of the outlawed political party Patriotic Ginbot 7 —to join Dr. Merera as part of a panel on Ethiopia. In late February 2017, Dr. Merera was officially charged with several national security-related offenses relating to interviews he gave with members of the media and meetings he allegedly held with Dr. Berhanu while in Brussels.
On January 15, 2018, officials in Ethiopia dropped all charges against Dr. Merera. He is among more than 500 people, many of whom were arrested during anti-government protests, who have seen charges against them dropped that week.