ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopia says it will not release a leading opposition figure detained under the country's state of emergency after meeting with European lawmakers in Belgium.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters on Monday that Merara Gudina of the Oromo Federalist Congress party instead will face justice.
The prime minister says "individuals in the European Parliament who are harboring anti-peace elements cannot save those who trespass the law of the country."
Merara is one of 22,000 people the prime minister says were detained under the state of emergency declared in October after widespread anti-government protests.
Merara was arrested immediately after he returned from Belgium. He was accused of meeting with members of an armed Ethiopian opposition group in Brussels, an act banned under the emergency law.