The last teacher unionist imprisoned for his connection with the independent ETA (Ethiopia Teachers Association) in Ethiopia was released on 16 December. Meqcha Mengistu, Chairman of former ETA branch in East Gojam and EFAIDS programme coordinator, was officially pardoned after having served a three year prison term in the Kality prison.
Despite the mistreatments he faced in prison, his health, morale and physical appearance are good. Meqcha is now reunited with his wife and two children in the eastern part of the country where they lived with his parents in law for the last three years. NTA will provide more information about Meqcha’s detention and present condition in the coming weeks.
Mengistu was first arrested on 10 November 2005 with 67 other teachers during the social unrest that followed the May 2005 national election. For his second detention (17 December 2006), he was incriminated as a member of an illegal organisation called Ethiopian Patriotic Front. When found guilty on 28 April 2009, he was accused of supporting another unidentified rebel group. However, upon his release he was eventually associated with the former Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leadership. Mengistu always denied any political affiliation with any of these organisations. In fact, teacher activists of the former ETA (now National Teachers Association) believe that their friend and colleague has been arrested, detained and mistreated because of his connection with the independent teacher association that has been subject to harrassments by the Ethiopian government for years now.