Woyanne convicts alleged coup plotters

November 20th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Twenty-six Ethiopians have been found guilty of plotting a coup and trying to assassinate government officials, after a trial criticised by rights groups. (more…)

Twenty-six Ethiopians have been found guilty of plotting a coup and trying to assassinate government officials, after a trial criticised by rights groups.

The authorities said they found weapons including land mines at the men’s homes when they were arrested in April.

Prosecutors say the plotters were part of the Ginbot 7 (15 May) group led by Berhanu Nega, a US-based dissident.

But a number of the defendants, most of whom have army backgrounds, say they were tortured into confessing.

Relatives of the men say they were badly beaten while in custody.

But Judge Adem Ibrahim said the court had not been convinced of the torture allegations.

“The evidence provided by the prosecution proves that the stated culprits present in this court are guilty of all charges,” he said.

Five other defendants were acquitted of the charges.

‘Struggle against tyranny’

The authorities have long accused Berhanu Nega of spearheading opposition plots.

“ People have the right in principle to struggle against tyranny by any means at their disposal ” – Berhanu Nega

He told the BBC’s Network Africa programme he had been expecting the convictions, pointing out that he and several of his associates had been found guilty in absentia of similar charges several months ago.

“Anyone who is accused by the government, especially for political crimes, everybody in the country knows they will be convicted,” he said.

He denied being engaged in an armed struggle against the government, but said: “People have the right in principle to struggle against tyranny by any means at their disposal.”

He was was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005, but was arrested after the election and jailed for treason.

He was pardoned in 2007, when he left Ethiopia and began teaching economics at a university in the US.

Rights groups have expressed concern that the government is trying to silence dissent before Ethiopia holds its next national election in June 2010.

  1. Guest
    | #1

    The timing appears to be a ploy to distract people from focusing on the current pressing political issues including Meles’ travel to Copenhagen for the Conference on Climate change. Woyanes know that there will be a huge and loud demonstration against Meles in Denmark and they are trying to dissipate energy so that the Diaspora will be less effectively organised.

    We know that prisoners will be convicted someday, there is no surprise here.

  2. JIGSA
    | #2

    THE KANGAROO COURT IN ETHIOPIA IS A MAFIA COURT THAT IS OPERATING TO SERVE THE TRIBALIST REGIME OF MELESSE ZENAWI AND HIS GROUP IT DOSENT SERVE THE INTEREST OF THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE.AS IT IS KNOWN THERE IS NO RULE OF LAW IN ETHIOPIA THE REGIME IS A DE-FACTO REGIME WHO IS THERE ILLEGALLY AFTER STEALING THE ELECTION IN 2005.IT IS A JOKE TO SAY THE THE COURT CONVICT 26 INOCENT ETHIOPIAN AS USUAL THIS IS NOT NEW TO THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE FOR THE LAST 19 YEARS THOUSANDS THOUSANDS EHIOPIANS PUT TO WOYANE TPLF PRISION WITH OUT ANY REASON THEY ARE STILL SUFFERING UNDER AFRICA’S MOST CORRUPT BRUTAL REGIME OF MELESSE ZENAWI IT IS NOT SURPRISING AT ALL.SHAMR ON TIGRAI LIBERATION FRONT LEADER AND HIS MAFIA GROUP IN ETHIOPIA!!!!!! THE ETHIPIAN PEOPLE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY WILL PREVAIL!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous
    | #3

    ‘…He was pardoned in 2007,…’I read with horror this scandalous revision of recent history about Dr Berhanu and other former Kinjit members’ manner of release from prison post May 2007 elections.

    Who is pardoning who? The murderers or the victims? Is TPLF who gunned down in broad day light more than 200 peacefully demonstrating civilians and detained tens of thousands more giving the pardon? And is this pardon dispensed to those who represented the victims unjustly killed and incarcerated?

    What an outrageous travesty! What a shameless and wicked lie!

    In effect,Meles and his TPLF lieutenants have said that they have pooled the triggers and killed those urban demonstrators on Addis Abeba streets because they didn’t allow any protest against their power.They have then concocted the lie that the leaders of the peaceful demonstrators were not only treasonous but also responsible(sic!)for the death of their own followers.They have said and done that with impunity.Yet they have suffered neither severe criticism nor punishment for such gross criminal acts from the many powerful nations who back them because they remain leaders of an obedient client state.

    If TPLF had been the regime in Venezuela or Iran or Pre-Tsvangirai Zimbabwe,we would have heard a different reaction.The furore would have been deafening and the media-led protest relentless.
    However,the lives of our people,for these hypocritical powerful nations who keep on supporting Meles’s Tyranny,does not seem to have intrinsic value.
    It can not certainly have equal value vis-a-vis the calculations of their national interest.
    By now we must all shed our naivety and realise that the idea of democracy sold to us by the West is just a myth.The overriding power
    and concern,amply demonstrated by their practice,is their national interest on whose altar everything is sacrificed including democracy and truth.
    So,how can we survive in dignity giving due value to our own lives?
    How can our lives and the lives of our people,through our political thinking,have estimations of value more than even the pets and domestic animals in these affluent nations whose governments collaborate with the regime that brutalizes us and makes our lives worthless?

    These are the questions we need to answer.

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