Hailu Shawel admitted to hospital

Hailu Shawel
WASHINGTON, DC - Hailu Shawel, jailed president of Ethiopia's most popular opposition party, has been rushed to hospital from Kaliti Prison in the suburbs of the Ethiopian capital, Kinijit International source has informed Ethiomedia.

Hailu Shawel, the charismatic leader whose Kinijit party swept to victory over the ruling party in the May 2005 elections, is now in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Police Hospital. Kinijit International cited sudden falls and sharp rises of sugar levels for his emergency situation.

"His condition is being monitored closely by doctors," Kinijit International said, and family and friends are at the hospital trying to get access to visit Hailu Shawel. Severe restriction of movement and lack of exercise might have contributed to the sudden breakdown in the health system of Ethiopia's No. 1 opposition leader, who is undoubtedly respected by millions as a leader fancied to take Ethiopia out of its current economic and political crises.

. "Hailu has always been denied access to meet visitors from the international community who come to prison for either a fact-finding mission or to analyze the situation of the prisoners," the Kinijit International news release said.

When EU development commissioner, Louis Michel, visited Kaliti in February 2006, Hailu Shawel was taken to hospital despite his request to meet the visitor. His insistence to see the EU commissioner paid off in the end and was able to meet Michel. Once again, when Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern visited Kaliti Prison in July 2006, Engineer Hailu was taken to hospital. When US Congressman Donald Payne visited the political prisoners at Kaliti, Hailu was again taken to hospital. Though Hailu was back to the prison by 11:00 AM, the authorities told Payne that the Kinijit leader was still in hospital.

Hailu Shawel and most of the Kinijit leaders are behind bars along with journalists and human rights activists on fabricated charges of "treason" and "genocide."

Kinijit International Leadership Committee. E-Mail Kil@kinijitinternational.org

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