Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
AAAS Human Rights Action Network
|Date:||9 June 1999|
|Subject:||Death of former political prisoner|
|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; 14 January 1999|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
AAAS regrets to inform you of the death of Dr. Asrat Woldeyes on 14 May 1999, a renowned surgeon from Ethiopia and a former professor and dean of the medical faculty at Addis Abada University. Dr. Asrat was a pioneer of medical education in Ethiopia and an internationally renowned surgeon. He served a five-and-a half year prison sentence in Ethiopia from July 1994 until December 1998, when he was allowed to seek medical treatment in the United States.
Dr. Asrat was accused of inciting violence for political ends, despite his well-documented commitment to non-violent activity. The charges against him appear to have been politically motivated.
Dr. Asrat's health significantly worsened during his detention. He was held at Tiku Ambesa Hospital, where the facilities are reportedly inadequate. He also suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes, conditions which were worsened by delays in providing him with adequate medical attention. The lack of proper medical attention during his imprisonment could have hastened Dr. Asrat's death.
In 1998, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program honored Dr. Asrat at its annual science and human rights reception. This reception was 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.
(Sources of information include the Ethiopian News Forum, friends and family members of Dr. Asrat, and Amnesty International.)