State lawmakers call for release of Minnesotan in Ethiopian jail


MPR by Riham Feshir

A group of Minnesota state senators is calling on federal officials to help release a Minnesotan imprisoned in Ethiopia.

Jawar Mohammed, who is a resident in the Twin Cities, is an activist and a member of the opposition party in Ethiopia. As of Friday he’s been on a hunger strike for 19 days.

State Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin, said Mohammed needs to be released and brought back to his family in Brooklyn Park.

“This guy is not going to make it. These political prisoners are on a hunger strike and so now it’s a life or death situation,” said Hoffmann. “Get them the help they need, get the due process in place and then bring them home.”

Mohammed faces terrorism charges. They are related to the unrest that erupted after the death of popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa in June 2020 that left at least 166 people dead.

Hoffman joined five other state senators in asking the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia to check on the well-being of Mohammed and other political prisoners who’ve joined the hunger strike.

Sen. Hoffman says Mohammed’s case has not been investigated properly.

“And then to have a resident of Brooklyn Park, whose son was born here, whose wife is here, be put into prison without due process rights is absolutely not OK,” he said.

Jawar Mohammed
Human rights advocate.

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