Ethiopians rally to free an icon

ROCHESTER, MN – In churches, schools and meeting halls around Minnesota, the state’s sizeable population of Ethiopian refugees is rallying to free a heroine to them who is wasting away in a prison hellhole in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.The woman is Birtukan Mideksa, a 34-year-old mother and charismatic political leader who has been attracting millions of young followers – and who a year ago paid the price by being sentenced to life in prison by an Ethiopian government that is cracking down hard on all opposition ahead of national elections coming this May.With representatives of virtually every one of Ethiopia’s many opposition groups living in Minnesota, freeing Birtukan Mideksa has become a rallying cry for many of them – and a unifying one among dissident groups that usually would not work togethe

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