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supporter of the Mengistu regime. In 1993 the author joined the All-Amhara People’s
Organization (AAPO)1. By then he was working as an agriculture adviser in Debre Birhan, an
Amhara district. Within the AAPO he was entrusted with two kinds of activities: on the one
hand, propaganda and recruitment and, on the other hand, smuggling weapons, organizing
attacks to capture weapons and making arrangements for their distribution.
In 1995 the author was arrested by the security forces during a clandestine meeting he
had organized near Debre Birhan. Two days later he was taken to a secret detention centre
where he was heavily tortured. After nine months in detention his family bribed a guard who
helped him to escape. He stayed in hiding for some time in Addis Ababa, until he travelled to
Norway in November 1995.
Upon applying for asylum he was interviewed at the Asker and Baerum Police
Department on 3 and 22 November 1995. The Directorate of Immigration rejected his
application on 15 December 1995. The author was not found to be credible for the following
reasons: (a) he did not know anything about the arrest of other members of his party; (b) two
photographs of the author at liberty bore dates which were during the time when he claimed to
have been in detention; (c) the author did not bear visible marks of torture.
The author filed an appeal with the Ministry of Justice on 5 January 1996 in which he
responded to the reasons given by the Directorate in the following manner: he knew about the
arrest of several members of his party but he did not know their names; the automatic dating
system of the camera used to take the above-mentioned photographs was not working properly
because of a flat battery; he had scars as a result of torture but the Norwegian police showed no
interest in looking at them.
On 6 November 1997 the Ministry of Justice rejected the appeal. The Ministry did not
find the explanations given by the author convincing. Moreover, the Ministry was informed
through the Norwegian Embassy in Nairobi that the author was not known to the AAPO
leadership; that, according to that leadership, the meeting at which the author claimed to have
been arrested never took place; and that two documents provided by the author with his
application for asylum were found to be false.
The author claims that he was not given the opportunity to comment on the report of the
Norwegian Embassy, a report which was based on an inquiry made by a lawyer in Addis Ababa
whose identity was never revealed to him. The lawyer had gone to Debre Berhan and found
AAPO offices there. He therefore concluded that no AAPO meeting had taken place
on 27 January 1995 and that it could not be verified whether the applicant had been arrested.
The lawyer also found that even when the AAPO was operating in Debre Berhan the chairman
and vice-chairman were not the people indicated by the author in his application.
On 21 December 1997 the author filed a request for the reconsideration of the case in
which he commented on the verification report and the Ministry’s interpretation of it. He alleged
that his arrest and detention had been conducted in an irregular manner, therefore he could not be
expected to produce documentary evidence concerning them. He added that he had never
referred to an AAPO office in Debre Berhan, but to the fact that he himself had had links with
the office in Addis Ababa. The names of other AAPO members referred to in the verification

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