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Djibouti pilot Lt. Fouad Youssouf Ali defected to Ethiopia and asks political asylum

Letter of Appeal from Mr. Omar
Tigrai Online April 18, 2020

Djibouti pilot Lt. Fouad Youssouf Ali defected to Ethiopia and asks political asylum

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Good Evening, My name is Omar and I am the brother of Lieutenant Fouad Youssouf Ali of Djibouti. First, I’d like to thank you for your unprecedented support and solidarity for my brother. This spontaneous support comes from all Djiboutian from all social background in Djibouti and around the world. I’m expressing my deepest gratitude for your unwavering support. It shows how deeply Lieutenant Fouad’s words touched everyone of us and how thirsty we are for justice and equality. The reasons why Lieutenant Fouad left his family and his country are not isolated to him but are shared by the majority of the people of Djibouti specially the younger generation. You have heard many rumors in recent days regarding the situation of Lieutenant Fouad, I would like to share with you the facts that we have as of today:

Lieutenant Fouad left Djibouti on March 27 for Ethiopia in order to seek asylum and protection from persecution, oppression, tribalism, and many other ills perpetrated by the government of Djibouti. He did not commit any crime in Djibouti nor in Ethiopia. He simply fled to Addis Ababa. Since then the Djiboutian government has launched a warrant for his arrest. Furthermore, our entire family including our mother, brothers, sisters, children have been arrested, interrogated and harassed. These intimidations by the police and the secret services are still ongoing as we speak. According to his lawyer in Addis, Lieutenant Fouad is in the hands of the Ethiopian authorities since April 08, for the following reasons: The first reason is related to the COVID-19 pandemic protection measures. As you know, almost all countries require anyone entering their territories to confine themselves or to be quarantined for a period of 14 days. Ethiopia also follows the same guideline.

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The second reason is to guarantee his safety while the authorities are studying his asylum application.

The third, and perhaps the most important reason, is that the Djiboutian government has requested the extradition of Lieutenant Fouad. According to the lawyer, the Ethiopian authorities have not yet granted Djibouti’s request and are currently studying his case. The lawyer confirms to us that as long as Lieutenant Fouad is under the protection of the Ethiopian authorities, his safety is guaranteed. However, we want  the Ethiopian government  to reject the extradition request. For this we need your help.

In Addition, we learned recently that agents of the Djiboutian secret service are spreading falsehood on social media and are blaming the arrest of lieutenant Fouad on a person or community specially the Afar community in Djibouti. Read my lips, it is utterly false and without basis. It is the classic tactics of the government designed to divide the Djiboutian people by pitting against each other. It goes without saying that his detention was only carried out under the demand of the Djiboutian regime. We are aware that a commando from the Djiboutian army flew to Addis last Thursday with the intention to bring him back to Djibouti. We know that they came back to Djibouti on Friday empty handed. let's not waste our time looking for a scapegoat, but let's focus on the basics and respond to our dire situation.

For this, I’m asking you to organize and put pressure on the Ethiopian Prime Minister and the international community. I’m personally pleading to the prime minister of Ethiopia M. Abiy Ahmed please do not handover my brother to a certain death; the international community has awarded you a Nobel peace prize for the exact same reason. I’m also making an appeal to all Djiboutian and the supporters of human rights around the world to join our call and put pressure on the Ethiopian government for the release of Lieutenant Fouad Youssouf Ali.

Please share this video with your friends, families and colleagues. You can raise awareness by sending messages to the Ethiopian authorities, to the human rights organizations and the international community for his release.

Thank you and god bless you.

A French version of the above letter is available here

Note from Tigrai Online, eventhough Mr. Omar mentioned a video on his letter Tigrai Online didn't receive a video with the letter this morning.