Bekele Gerba might lose his eyesight altogether: Daughter

Bekele Gerba might lose his eyesight altogether: Daughter

Detained Ethiopian opposition leader, Bekele Gerba suffered damage to his left eye due to high blood pressure, his daughter said. His daughter Bontu Bekele told the Voice of America’s Amharic service that doctors at Menelik Hospital who examined her father told him that if he doesn’t get extra medical assistance, he might lose his sight altogether. However, Bontu said, she was told by the prison officers that they cannot take him to a private clinic.
On December 25, it was revealed that Bekele Gerba has been seriously ill, and not receiving the treatment he needed. His daughter at the time said that he was suffering from high blood pressure, he was practically unable to stand alone, had headaches and pain neck and he had asked to undergo medical treatment, but the prison authorities refused permission to do so, she said.
Though they have belatedly brought him to Menelik Hospital, the medical staff there said it was beyond their capacity and he needed to be transferred to a private clinic called Biruh Vision Eye Clinic. The prison authorities have not done that until yesterday, the daughter said.
Bekele, a deputy head of the Oromo Federalist congress (OFC), was detained along with other officials of the party, on December 23, 2015 and later charged under Ethiopia’s terrorism law for allegedly belonging to the banned Oromo Liberation Front. Both his party and Bekele have dismissed the arrest and trial as politically motivated. In 2011, Bekele was also arrested and detained for three years after meeting with Amnesty International researchers on terrorism charges. Call for the release of the 56-year-old foreign language professor has been a repeated theme of the protesters in the Oromia region for the past two years. Bekele has been granted bail by the Federal Supreme Court two months ago, but three days later, the Federal Supreme Court Cassation reversed the decision, condemning Bekele Gerba to remain behind bars.

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