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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Ethiopian nurse released

Zawditu Deressa, a nurse and mother of six children who was held in an Ethiopian prison for a year, was released in April (see January, page 51). Zawditu is the sister of Belletech Deressa, director of development for the ELCA Division for Global Mission, and of Worknesh Deressa, also with the global mission unit. Held on charges that she provided medical treatment for two supporters of the government's opposition party, Zawditu had been declared by Amnesty International a prisoner of conscience.

Several ELCA members wrote letters on Zawditu's behalf to the Ethiopian government, and ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson advocated for her release during a stop in Ethiopia after attending the World Council of Churches Assembly in Zimbabwe last December.

"My sister could have faced a death sentence or years of imprisonment if not for the vigorous letter campaign on her behalf by many Christian sisters and brothers around the world," Belletech Deressa said. "The struggle isn't yet over. But I have confidence that the charges against Zawditu soon will be dropped."


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