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Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie, human rights lawyers and coordinators of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) in Ethiopia, have been in detention for more than two years for treason-related charges. If found guilty, they could face life in jail or the death sentence.

Take action by sending a message of hope to Bekele and Demissie and their families, and/or a letter of appeal to the Ethiopian authorities, urging them to bring the lawyers home for the holidays.

According to GCAP and CIVICUS, an international alliance of civil society organisations, Demissie and Bekele "have been arrested solely on the basis of their legitimate critique of the government during their anti-poverty and human rights work." They both monitored the controversial 15 May 2005 election, which critics say were rigged.

Sixty-one out of 131 political opposition members and journalists have been reportedly sentenced and then pardoned, allegedly after signing a statement admitting they tried to undermine the government. Demissie and Bekele declined to sign such a statement, and presented their defence in July. The verdict has been continually delayed by the court and is now set for 24 December.

Send a message of hope or a letter of appeal here:

(18 December 2007)

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