Anti-Terror Rule: Woyane’s new ‘‘legal’’ tool – Teferi Atlabachew

August 12th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

It has been indicated by several prominent opposition figures and bloggers that the notoriety of the Woyane regime is its use of the legal system as a tool for controlling and elimination of opponents. The courts have been used in several occasions to get rid of oppositions: Charges of Corruption against Siye Abraha and other TPLF factions, the ridiculous charges of genocide and treason against leaders of the former CUD are just few cases to mansion. Since recently, the parliament is being used to craft laws which serve the Woyane the same purpose of incriminating opponents.

Woyane’s recently ratified ‘‘anti-terror rule’’ has already been labelled as a source of fear and terrorising by the few opposition voices in the parliament and by the people at large. In fact, the rule is intended to craft a ‘‘legal’’ tool against the opponents of the regime and this is apparent in its definition of Terrorism. It puts all forms of use of force to confront the ‘‘legitimate’’ government as an act of terror. By this definition, it categorises all forms of armed struggle as a terrorist act and imposes the maximum possible punishment on the convicts of such acts. Even riots are defined as heavily punishable terrorist acts.

The rule also gives Woyane’s parliament the right to declare terrorist organisations. Woyane has already categorised liberation movements like Ginbot 7, ONLF and OLF as terrorist organisations. The irony is the woyane itself was a ‘‘liberation’’ movement.

The new law enables Woyane to charge opposition activists on charges of terrorism for activities which threaten the longevity of the regime. What the Woyane calculates is that charges like genocide against opposition leaders have been found to be far-fetched and rather shameful in the eyes of independent observers and western donors and it looks that one can impose the same amount of punishment and restraint by charges of terrorism.

The rule gives boundless right to the police force including intruding to the privacy of individual citizens, which is anti-constitutional. However, one should not forget that the Woyane has always been lawless in its use of its police force and there was nothing restraining the Woyane officials to do whatever they liked to do previously. And the truth is they ratified the new law because they only wanted to give ‘‘legal’’ cover for their gruesome violation of the inalienable human rights of citizens. This latest act of the Woyane is just a sequel of the varies dictatorial parliamentary ratifications such as the rule on the NGO activities, on parliamentary conduct, and more recently on the financial aid to opposition parties. Another bill is also being drafted which gives the police amnesty from crimes committed by undercover agents and which shifts burden of proof to the defendant on charges related to terrorism and treason.

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