Today, Yonas has to use crutches to walk; he cannot step on the floor with his right foot even while sitting. And the right part of his body (up to his shoulder) is in constant pain. His right foot hardly touched the ground when he was escorted to the restroom while the court was in session.
The demand for the recognition of the Amhara identity of Welkait has brought untold miseries among the Amhara people; Yonas Gashaw is but one example. Similar repression continue to happen today in Welkait. Even as I am writing this piece, several reports coming from the Welkait area of Telemt Amharas are being deliberately targeted by government soldiers.
In his recent visit to the Amhara regional state, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed However, the current administration has to look beyond this misunderstanding and put an end to the ongoing repression in connection with the identity question of the Welkayit Amharas. This can only be done by addressing their decades old demand for the recognition of their identity
Yonas suffered this horrifying torture while he was where his nails were also torn apart with pliers; where he lost his ability to procreate, and his legs damaged, leading him to fall victim of a nerve disease.
But Yonas’ suffering is not the end of his ordeal. Before he was detained, his family members were deliberately targeted. In the courtroom, he expressed his grief when he said: “They deliberately run over my brother with their military truck; they killed my mother in the same way. Why are the Amhara prevented from breeding and replacing themselves? What we have learned is hatred. What will our generation learn from us?”
He was subsequently taken to Zewditu Hospital for medical treatment but doctors at the hospital told him it was beyond their capacity. He was then taken to Paulos Hospital and was given proof that he suffered from broken bones but officials at the Qilinto Prison destroyed the results of his medical diagnosis. His right leg has been almost completely paralyzed and he needed to wear closed shoes because of this. However, a prison officer got rid of his shoes saying prisoners are not allowed to wear closed shoes. Yonas’ response has been telling: “Do we have to change our ethnic identity even to be able to wear closed shoes?”