Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
AAAS Human Rights Action Network
|Date:||14 January 1999|
|Issues:||Freedom of association and assembly; Freedom of opinion and expression; Right to health; Right to liberty and security of the person|
|Type of alert:||Update|
|Related alerts:||11 January 1996; 18 February 1998; 30 April 1998; 9 June 1999|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
Dr. Asrat Woldeyes, former professor and dean of the medical faculty at Addis Ababa University and long-time political prisoner, was released from prison on 27 December 1998 and permitted to travel abroad to receive medical attention for a cardiac condition.
Dr. Asrat is a pioneer of medical education in Ethiopia and an internationally renowned surgeon. Imprisoned since July 1994, he was serving a five-and-a half-year prison sentence.
Dr. Asrat was accused of inciting violence for political ends, despite his well-documented commitment to non-violent activity. The charges against him have been "temporarily withdrawn."
In 1997, AAAS passed a resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of scientists who are prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia, including Dr. Asrat. In 1998, AAAS Science and Human Rights Program honored Dr. Asrat at its annual science and human rights reception, held in conjunction with the AAAS Annual Meeting, which was attended by more than 5,000 scientists from around the world.
No further action is requested.
(The source of information for this update is the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Previous sources of information include the Ethiopian News Forum, friends and family members of Dr. Asrat, and Amnesty International)