WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement:

“Despite the recent release of thousands of political prisoners, the decision by an Ethiopian court to sentence Bekele Gerba to an additional six months in jail for contempt is deeply troubling. Mr. Gerba, the secretary general of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, has allegedly been in in poor health since his December 2015 detention, which was part of the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Oromo and Amhara regions. Mr. Gerba has also been designated by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission as a prisoner of conscience.

Protecting human rights defenders like Mr. Gerba should be at the forefront of U.S. engagement with Ethiopia, which is why I was proud to co-sponsor a resolution in the House expressing support for human rights and inclusive government in Ethiopia.”

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