Success! Swedish Cardiologist Freed After 5 Years in Ethiopian Prison

Dr. Fikru Maru was imprisoned in May of 2013, on trumped-up charges of corruption and, later, of terror crimes.

Originally from Ethiopia, Maru fled to Sweden in the 1970s after the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie 1. For 40 years, he was one of Sweden’s top cardiologists.

But Maru wanted to return to his homeland to provide high quality care to people with heart problems. In 2007 he left Sweden for Ethiopia, where he helped establish a heart hospital.

Maru’s troubles began in 2010 when he was arrested while trying to bring medical supplies through Addis Ababa airport. Those charges were eventually dropped — but on May 12, 2013, he was re-arrested on fabricated charges.

When British doctor Frank Ashall heard of Dr. Maru’s plight, he created a Care2 petition calling on Attorney General Getachew Ambaye and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to release the Swedish-Ethiopian doctor. 

Here’s a report from Dr. Ashall on Firku Maru, and how he ended up “in one of Ethiopia’s crowded, ungodly prisons.”

Ashall’s petition garnered an incredible 143,932 signatures, from Care2 members around the world outraged at how this well-meaning heart doctor was treated in his homeland.

Care2 Success!

On May 15, 2018 — five years after he was imprisoned – Dr. Maru was released

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Sometimes it’s hard to find the truth in this statement nowadays, but this development offers at least a glimmer of hope.

Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Frank Ashall, the Care2 community and Swedish government officials, who worked so hard to bring about Maru’s release.

Dr. Maru thought he was free last year, but the Care2 petition describes what happened next:

Then, after four years in prison, in May, 2017, in a new court hearing, he was cleared of all prior charges! That means he spent four years suffering in prison for committing no crime!

However, instead of releasing him from prison, the Ethiopian government brought new charges against Dr Fikru, accusing him, along with 37 other prisoners, of being involved in a prison fire and revolt, even though he was in hospital with a life-threatening condition when the fire occurred.

As the petition notes, the situation in Ethiopia is appalling, with thousands of individuals jailed, tortured and killed by the regime. The ruling political party and its allies control the country’s judiciary, and they succeeded in winning every seat in the most recent elections through a strategy of banning, jailing and killing opposition party members.

Mourning Dr. Ashall

While we are thrilled to celebrate Dr. Maru’s freedom, there’s a sad aspect to this petition success.

Tragically, Dr. Frank Ashall, who created this petition and worked tirelessly for human rights in Ethiopia, passed away last November, so he will never know the impact of his work to free Fikru Maru.

Miranda Becker, Care2’s member activism strategist, expressed her sorrow at this news: 

This is so terribly sad. I knew him. He sent me the most beautiful messages telling me how grateful he was for Care2, and always thanked us in such heartfelt and profuse ways. I wish we had the chance to tell him what he’s just done for this man’s life. I hope they know what a big influence he had.

Yet while we mourn the death of Frank Ashall, we are so grateful for his work.

And thank you to all the Care2 members who signed Ashall’s petition demanding the immediate release of Dr. Maru. 

Take Action!

If you are moved by the dedication of Frank Ashall and of all the Care2 activists who signed on to support him, why not start a Care2 petition about an issue you care deeply about? Check out these guidelines to create your own petition and make your voice heard today!

 

Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube video

40 comments

Past Member
Past Member 14 days ago

With a grateful hearth , I want to give my sincere appreciation to Dr Sambo He is the best , he's so wonderful and helping. Few weeks ago , I contacted him for a lotto lucky number, without delay , he gave me the real lucky winning numbers I played and won $100,000,000. Contact him for lucky winning numbers and your story will change for good . Thank you Dr Sambo I will forever be grateful for your kind gesture. Contact him today through his email he can help you.
divinespellhome@gmail.com
WhatsApp him now +1(267)527-9481

SEND
Past Member
Past Member 14 days ago

With a grateful hearth , I want to give my sincere appreciation to Dr Sambo He is the best , he's so wonderful and helping. Few weeks ago , I contacted him for a lotto lucky number, without delay , he gave me the real lucky winning numbers I played and won $100,000,000. Contact him for lucky winning numbers and your story will change for good . Thank you Dr Sambo I will forever be grateful for your kind gesture. Contact him today through his email he can help you.
divinespellhome@gmail.com
WhatsApp him now +1(267)527-9481

SEND
Ruth R
Ruth R4 months ago

Also, thank you for sharing this news: " Tragically, Dr. Frank Ashall, who created this petition and worked tirelessly for human rights in Ethiopia, passed away last November, so he will never know the impact of his work to free Fikru Maru.

Miranda Becker, Care2’s member activism strategist, expressed her sorrow at this news:

This is so terribly sad. I knew him. He sent me the most beautiful messages telling me how grateful he was for Care2, and always thanked us in such heartfelt and profuse ways. I wish we had the chance to tell him what he’s just done for this man’s life. I hope they know what a big influence he had.

Yet while we mourn the death of Frank Ashall, we are so grateful for his work. "

SEND
Ruth R
Ruth R4 months ago

Thank You.

" Demand the Ethiopian government free the good Swedish heart doctor, Dr Fikru Maru, immediately!
Because of people like you who have raised their voices, Swedish newspapers are reporting that Dr. Fikru Maru has been freed from prison in Ethiopia. He had been imprisoned there for five years and three days. Thank you for helping to make a difference in this man's life, and in the lives of his family and his patients.
We Won!
Supporters!
You signed on July 10, 2017 "

SEND
Ben O
Ben O4 months ago

Free at last! (He is safe now in Sweden)

SEND
Leanne K
Leanne K4 months ago

Is this doctor still in Ethiopia? If so, wow that’s brave! If not, smart. An entire counties heart patients have missed out and will continue to miss out. His legacy will always be the heart hospital. Solace in time

SEND
Leanne K
Leanne K4 months ago

Even the corrupt will bow to public pressure, eventually. Thank goodness.

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer4 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Dot A
Dot A4 months ago

I like to think that in ways that we cannot comprehend, Dr. Frank Ashall will come to realize the success of his compassion and his actions to free Dr. Fikru Maru. In ways that our human brains are limited in thinking, I believe that our life and our loving behaviors will have acknowledgment beyond the scope of this earthly plane. Congratulations to Care2, Dr. Ashall in his new locality, and Dr. Maru as he has been freed to do good in the world. And, if I am wrong, there is no harm done. Blessings to All.

SEND
Janis K
Janis K4 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND