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Amnesty International Report 1997 - Djibouti

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 January 1997
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1997 - Djibouti, 1 January 1997, available at: [accessed 25 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Five former senior officials were imprisoned, as prisoners of conscience, for six months for criticizing the government. Numerous teachers were briefly detained during peaceful demonstrations. Several Ethiopian government opponents were deported to Ethiopia and imprisoned.

In August, five dissident former officials of President Hassan Gouled Aptidon's government and ruling party, the Rassemblement pour le progrès populaire (RPP), People's Assembly for Progress, were convicted of defaming the Head of State and sentenced to six months' imprisonment, heavy fines and deprivation of their civil rights for five years. They had issued a press communique in May criticizing the President for acting undemocratically. Three were members of parliament, former ministers and senior RPP officials – Moumin Bahdon Farah, Ahmed Boulale Barre and Ali Mahamed Houmed – and the other two were Ismail Guedi Hared, former director of the President's cabinet, and Abdillahi Guirreh, a former RPP official. They were prisoners of conscience. The lifting of their parliamentary immunity was contrary to normal procedures and their trial by the Court of Appeal was also unusual. They later went on hunger-strike for some days in Gabode prison until their conditions of imprisonment were improved. In November, the Supreme Court upheld their convictions.

In January, some 200 school-teachers were detained during a peaceful demonstration against the government's education policies. They were released after two days and charges brought against teachers' union leaders were dropped. Fourteen teachers were briefly detained in December, also in connection with a peaceful demonstration.

Seven Ethiopian government opponents were arrested in August and forcibly deported to Ethiopia, where they were detained without charge or trial by the authorities (see Ethiopia entry). They included Girmay Moges Newaye-Mariam, a refugee; Muhyadin Muftah, a leader of an armed Afar opposition group; and members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

Amnesty International appealed to the authorities urging the release of the five prisoners of conscience. The organization protested at the forcible repatriation of a refugee and other Ethiopian government opponents who were subsequently imprisoned in Ethiopia.

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