The federal prosecutors have charged Eskendir Nega, founder and leader of the opposition Balderas for Genuine Democracy, with terrorism, and four others with criminal charges (two of them in absentia), at the Federal High Court Lideta Branch.
News Alert: Federal prosecutors have filed terrorism charges on @eskinder_nega, leader of the opposition party @BalderasAddis & two others with him. Criminal charges were also filed on 3 other defendants in the same file at the Fed. High Court, FBC said.
This story developing pic.twitter.com/1SpqhRPA3j
— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) September 10, 2020
Henok Aklilu, Eskinder’s lawyer, told Addis Standard that the charges were brought against the defendants in their absence and they are yet to receive copies of the charge sheet. Henok said he first heard the news from state affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation. Henok is the currently at the premises of the Federal Court waiting for more information on the nature of the charges, he said.
Addis Standard has learnt that in addition to Eskinder, Sintayehu Chekol, another senior member of Balderas party, Keleb Seyoum, former executive member of the opposition Unity Party and is originally from Gonder, Amhara regional state, are among the seven charged today. Like Eskinder, Keleb was serving a prison term after being convicted of terrorism before the release of political prisoners in March 2018. She was arrested in Addis Abeba while looking for a job soon after her university graduation. A mother of one at that time, Keleb was nursing her first born when she was convicted of terrorism.
It is not clear if Keleb and Sintayehu are the other two defendants facing terrorism charges. The remaining defendants are: Askale Demmissie, Getnet Bekele, Ashenafi Aweke and Tithawi Gebremedihin (the later two in absentia).
#Ethiopia: @AddisPolice detained Eskinder Nega, founder & leader of the opposition party Balderas for Genuine Democracy today from his office, lawyer Henok Aklilu told AS's @MahletFasil. He added that the police didn't say why Eskinder was detained, nor where he was detained at. pic.twitter.com/n6dcjvpGOU
— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) July 1, 2020
Eskinder, Sintayehu and Keleb were arrested in the first week of July following the June 29 assassination of prominent Oromo artist Hachalu Hundessa. The police accused them of inciting violence in Addis Abeba in the aftermath of the assassination. AS