On April 9, 2012, the Ethiopian security forces brought UN security officer Abdirahman Sheikh Hassan in front a kangaroo court in Addis Ababa alleging that he has links with Ogaden National Liberation Front. Mr Hassan has never been a member or even a sympathizer of ONLF.
Ethiopia’s behaviour of framing up innocent civilians in having relations with ONLF under the so-called terrorist legislation is a routine practice and is not a surprise. However, what is worrying and disgusting is the behaviour of the UN mission in Ethiopia that has abandoned a member of its own officers, who is being punished for fulfilling the duties that the UN has assigned him to do.
The statement by the UN country representative, Eugene Owusu saying that Mr Hassan’s current predicament is not tied to his role in negotiating the release of the two UN staff last year, is a blatant and unethical ploy that is intended to mask UN failure to defend its staff and the Ogaden, by kowtowing to a pariah regime that has legitimized Human Rights violations by branding everyone against its inhumane rule a terrorist. Mr Owusu knows that Mr Hassan is in prison because of his role in releasing WFP workers. It is very clear that other considerations are more important to the UN executives than the lives of its officers.
Many UN workers were involved in that negotiation, but the regime singled out Mr Hassan only because he was an Ogadeni and as usual, Ethiopia could get away with any crime committed against the Ogaden people or anyone who tries to know their plight just like the Swedish journalists.