Amnesty Calls on Ethiopia to Charge or Release Tigray Detainees

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Police raided dozens of Tigrayan businesses in the capital of Addis Ababa and ordered them to shut down, while hundreds still remain in detention and their whereabouts unknown, the rights group Amnesty International said Friday.

“Amnesty International is not aware of any internationally recognizable criminal charges against those still in detention who were arrested in these cases documented by the organization,” the organization said in an emailed statement calling on the government to charge or release the detainees.

The Tigrayans were detained after the recapture of the state capital, Mekelle, by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, according to Amnesty. Police appeared to target ethnic Tigrayans in Addis Ababa after the withdrawal of the Ethiopian National Defense Force from parts of Tigray and the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire by the federal government on 28 June, it said.

Ethiopia’s attorney general, Gedion Timothewos, did not respond to questions about the arrests, though he has previously acknowledged last that there had been “isolated incidents” in which law enforcement agencies “acted out of line.” Billene Seyoum, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, did not immediately respond to questions.

The Tigray conflict, which started eight months ago when Abiy ordered an incursion in retaliation for an attack on an army base, has led to thousands of deaths, and the United Nations has warned that more than 900,000 people are on the brink of famine.

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