May 10, 2002
ADDIS ABABA (May 10) - Dr. Taye Woldesemayat, the jailed president of Ethiopian Teachers Association (ETA) has been released after years of solitary life in prison, sources told Deki-Alula today.
"A relentless international campaign has been going on to pressure the Meles Zenawi regime to set Taye free, and the news of his release should have brought tears of joy to his supporters and the voices of justice around the world," one source said.
Dr Taye was arrested on 29 May 1996, accused of armed conspiracy, convicted and sentenced on 10 June 1999 to fifteen years in prison, without credit for time served during his lengthy trial.
Dr Taye has criticized government education policies in the past, including regional decentralisation, and sought better conditions for teachers. He has never been known to advocate violence and has no party political affiliation. The real reason for his arrest and harsh sentence appears to be the desire by certain Ethiopian government officials to stem disagreement with government policies and make of Taye an example that will discourage dissent among Ethiopian intellectuals.