Judges who presided at the Western Command First Instance Military Court have sentenced members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), described by state media as “Tigrinya Speaking”, and who are accused of conspiring with the Tigrayn People Liberation Front (TPLF) to launch an attack on the military.
The army members were charged with treason for many of the crimes they were accused of and were sentenced to death and life imprisonment.
The ongoing trials follow due process of law and are backed by testimonial and documentary evidence, the report said. According to the head of the western command first instance military court, Colonel Mariye Ababu, the suspects were instilling desperation in the military and carrying out TPLF’s mission ‘prior to TPLF’s attack’ on the Northern Command on November 04 last year. Colonel Mariye is also quoted as saying that the investigations found evidences that the accused members were carrying deadly poisons, battle ration, and were engaged in echoing TPLF’s propaganda about the coming to end of the government’s mandate after October 2020.
The statement indicated that in addition to working with the TPLF to entice the army to defect from the government, the suspects were accused of rejecting the reform, strongly criticizing and insulting the government. According to Colonel Mariye, the investigation revealed that there were “Tigrinya Speaking” members of the military who received missions from TPLF, and were preparing for an attack “no lesser than the onslaught on the northern command.”
THE ARMY MEMBERS WERE CHARGED WITH TREASON FOR MOST OF THE CRIMES THEY WERE ACCUSED OF AND WERE SENTENCED TO DEATH AND LIFE IMPRISONMENT.
They were entitled to the right to file an appeal and were represented by a defense attorney, the statement said. Judge Sergeant Thomas Mathias
on his part said the Western command first instance military court was working to identify and prosecute those who inflicted harm on the 5th Mechanized Battalion of the North Command. They also noted that the members of the military were actively involved in providing testimonies.
It is to be recalled that among the revised preconditions for a ceasefire proposed by the TPLF, a group designated by the parliament as a terrorist group, was ‘the release of Tigrayan members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), citing the “expiration of the legal mandate of the federal government”. The TPLF also demanded the full restoration of ‘all the benefits they are legally entitled to.” AS