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March 7, 2021
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Jawar Mohammed et al refuse to end the hunger strike despite a plea from religious leaders and politicians

Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, and two other prisoners have refused to end their hunger strike despite a plea from religious leaders and politicians.

Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba are among 22 individuals who were arrested in a relation to a wave of ethnic unrest that followed the murder in June 2020 of popular musician Hachalu Hundessa.

Among the 22, Jawar, Bekele Gerba, Shemsedin Taha, and Hamza Adane, have been on hunger strike for over 10 days to demand an end to arrests and harassments of family members and supporters who come to court to attend their trials.

In addition to the four prisoners, Meles Dribsa, a journalist with the Oromia Media Network, and Jawar Mohammed’s bodyguards have reportedly joined the hunger strike.

Kedir Bulo, Jawar’s lawyers told BBC Amharic that prominent politicians and religious figures visited the Kaliti prison on Tuesday morning to convince the prisoners to end their hunger strike. Among the figures were OLF chairman Dawud Ibsa, Lencho Leta, Bate Urgesa, Ustaz Kamil Shemsu. However, the lawyer, said the prisoners did not agree to the demand.

The lawyer said that the prisoners’ health has deteriorated over the past few days, and they are unable to speak and walk properly.

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