Ethiopian politicians facing terror charges on hunger strike

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Gelana Belay BBC Afaan Oromoo

Leading Ethiopian opposition figure Jawar Mohammed, alongside 19 other individuals, have been on a hunger strike for over 13 days, according to their lawyers.

The group was in September charged with terrorism in relation to a wave of ethnic unrest that followed the murder in June of popular musician Hachalu Hundessa.

More than 150 died in the violence after the ethnic Oromo performer was gunned down in Addis Ababa.

Mr Jawar and Bekele Gerba, the deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress ( OFC), are among those on a hunger strike at Kallitti prison.

They are demanding “the release of all Oromo political prisoners and an end to the mistreatment of families of political prisoners’’, their defence team wrote on Facebook.

One of their lawyers, Kedir Bulo, told the BBC Afaan Oromoo that four prisoners fainted a few days ago and some were rushed to hospital for further treatment.

The authorities have not yet commented on the hunger strike.

Families who spoke to BBC said they were worried about the prisoners’ condition.

On Tuesday a group of religious and political leaders unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the prisoners to end the hunger strike