Ethiopia Opposition Says Official Needs Care After Assault

An imprisoned Ethiopian opposition leader needs urgent medical attention 12 days after being assaulted in his cell, former President Negasso Gidada said.

Andualem Aragie, head of public relations for the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, was kicked in the head and beaten by a fellow prisoner on Feb. 15, Negasso, the chairman of the party, said by phone today from Addis Ababa, the capital.

Andualem, who is being tried on terrorism charges, had to be supported by prison guards when his wife went to see him, Negasso said. “He complained yesterday he has a headache and has problems with his balance,” the ex-president said. “He needs urgent treatment and examination by a private medical doctor.”

Andualem could not be examined when taken to a police hospital because the equipment was not working, according to Negasso. A prison doctor saw him last week and said he was suffering from low blood pressure, said Negasso. “No serious medical attention has been given,” he said. “His wife is very much worried. We are also very worried.”

Ethiopia’s human rights commissioner, Teruneh Zenna, said today that he would again contact the “relevant authorities” about the case, Negasso said. Teruneh did not answer his mobile phone when called seeking comment. The party also plans to write to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Negasso said.

The trial of Andualem and 23 others is scheduled to resume next week.

To contact the reporter on this story:  William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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