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UPDATED: American election observer dies ‘unexpectedly’ in Ethiopia

Juba, South Sudan,

June 22, 2021 – An American observer in the ongoing general elections has been found dead according to reports by local media.

BREAKING: American observer in Ethiopia poll found dead
Crime scene ribbon (photo credit: file)

John Marsh, a member of the Carter Centre team was found dead at a hotel in Addis Ababa Tuesday according to police. The cause of death was yet to be established by the time of writing.

According to police, John Marsh, a member of the Carter Centre team, was found dead at a hotel in Addis Ababa Tuesday.

“An American citizen was found dead in his bedroom at Radisson Blu Hotel,” the police said in a statement.

A hotel worker who spoke to Nation Africa anonymously was quoted to have said: “At about 7 a.m., our hotel room cleaner saw him on the ground next to his bed when she went to clean the room.”

“She reported what she saw to the police, who immediately came to the scene, where they found him dead.”

The cause of death was still unknown at the time of writing. However, police say a post-mortem would be carried out followed by investigations into the incident.

According to the source, the probe will be carried out by the Addis Ababa Police Commission, in collaboration with the Federal Police Commission and the U.S Embassy in Addis Ababa.

Before his death, the police said earlier that a special election observer’s badge, various identity cards, and a driver’s license, with the words “National Driving License in California, USA”, were found in Marsh’s pockets.

Sources say Marsh could have most probably died of an illness after police found medicines at the scene and that the death may have been natural. They noted that the body did not have any visible injuries.

In a tweet, the Carter Centre sent a condolence message to Marsh’s family and friends describing the deceased as a fierce advocate for human rights.

“The Carter Centre is deeply saddened to confirm that John Marsh, a contractor responsible for managing the Centre’s social media monitoring project in Ethiopia, died unexpectedly Monday, June 21, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” the Centre tweeted Tuesday.

Marsh had worked for the Centre for more than four years before his sudden death in the Ethiopian capital.

“John [Marsh] was a fierce advocate for human rights, justice, and democracy in East Africa and around the world. He worked with the Centre on several important projects over the years,” it says.

“From 2005 to 2008, John [Marsh] led our efforts to support elections and democratic dialogue in Ethiopia, and in 2008 and 2009, he helped manage our election observation mission in Ghana,” the Centre added.

The Centre says Marsh’s colleagues were touched by his sudden death.

John’s many friends and colleagues at the center have been touched by his passion for social justice, his professionalism, and his personal warmth says the statement.






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