“No negotiation with Kaliti prisoners” – Zenawi says – By Ethio-Zagol

June 28th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Zenawi says prisoners will be sentenced. (more…)

Zenawi says prisoners will be sentenced.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says there has been no negotiation with the imprisoned CUD leaders. “Negotiation can only be made with two free persons. There can be no negotiation between an organ which has imprisoned the CUD members because they broke the law, and the prisoners on the respect for the rule of law, ” Meles Zenawi said in Parliament today.

The Prime Minister was adamant that the issue of clemency can’t be discussed in parliament before the court delivers its sentence on the prisoners as it affects the decision of the court.

EZ’s view:
From Meles’ statement, there is no possibility that the prisoners will be released before the sentencing which will either be a rigorous imprisonment or death. Last week, I wrote that the prisoners would be released this week unless Meles, the serial liar, backed down. He has done that again.
Posted by ethio-Zagol at 1:41 AM

It is sometimes unfathomable how some people are willing to act as utterly stupid to defend the act of others. Take, for example, Aigaforum’s consistent and persistent use of the term “Plea Bargain” to describe the agreement signed by CUD leaders in prison. One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to know some of the steps in a criminal trial:

-Plea Bargain is a prosecutorial instrument, and the deal is made between the prosecutor and the defendant.

-In principle, plea bargain must take place before the trial unless there is good cause for delay. Plea bargain, however, doesn’t take place after conviction.

-In civil law countries like Ethiopia, plea bargain can only take place in very, very limited circumstances.

The agreement the CUD leaders signed was made after their conviction. It has nothing to do with plea bargain.
Posted by ethio-Zagol at 12:16 AM

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Will Ephrem Isaac please speak up?
(By all EZ Post contributors)


The Ethiopian conception of Shimgelena is very pragmatic. It has less to do with justice and truth than crafting the conditions for coexistence. Thus, we say that Shimagles have a right(and even an obligation) to lie, hide the truth, and sometimes push one or the other party to accept deals which may be objectively unjust(based on a careful analysis of reality and balance of powers), to bring about reconciliation. That was why, all contributors to EZ Post, had no strong words against Professor Ephrem Isaac, the Chief Shimagele, during the process of the negotiation between CUD leaders and Meles, even though we firmly believed the prisoners were at times under intense pressure to accept unjust terms in the deal.

But Shimageles aren’t absolute Machiavellian amoralists. Their willingness to be less truthful and unjust has limits. Today was the second time Meles Zenawi backed down from a deal he agreed to in the past three months. He kept on changing his terms whenever he felt like it. He added more onerous conditions for the prisoners to accept after agreements had been made, sometimes embarrassing the Shimageles themselves. We think that even for a staunchly Ethiopian Shimagele like Epherem Isaac, Meles’ acts should be beyond the borders of what is acceptable in a Shimgelena process. We believe this is the time for the great Professor to speak up against Meles Zenawi’s blatant disregard of our long standing institution of Shimgelena, and his capacity to boundless immorality.

Reuters report on the release of prisoners

Ethiopia calls West’s appeals for prisoners “shameful”
28 Jun 2007 15:58:22 GMT
Source: Reuters

ADDIS ABABA, June 28 (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi slammed on Thursday calls by Western diplomats for the release of 38 opposition officials as “shameful”.

In an address to parliament, Meles lambasted the Addis Ababa-based Western ambassadors, some of whom were listening to his speech in the gallery, and accused them of pressuring him.

“In Ethiopia there is nothing that can be resolved as a result of external pressure,” he said.

The officials were convicted this month of charges relating to violent protests over disputed 2005 polls that altered the political landscape in the country of 81 million by handing the opposition a vastly increased share of parliament.

Meles, a one-time rebel leader, said diplomatic appeals for the group to be freed were “shameful and wrong”.

The officials, who may face the death penalty, are among 131 opposition leaders, reporters and activists charged in 2005 of treason, inciting violence and attempting to commit genocide.

There has been widespread speculation of a deal to free the 38 this week. But Meles ruled out a pardon for any prisoners while their cases were pending in court.

“We know the country is rife with rumours about their impending pardon … but the government has not discussed this issue with anyone because it violates the right of the court,” he said in response to a question by a parliamentarian.

Once the donor darling of the West, Meles has come under growing criticism for his human rights record after allegations of a secret detention programme targeting suspected Islamist militants, and a post-election crackdown that killed 193 people.

Even his greatest ally, the United States, has criticised donor-dependent Ethiopia for the arbitrary arrests of tens of thousands of opposition supporters and restrictions on media freedom, including the detention of journalists.

Meles has said he regretted the post-poll violence, but blamed it on opportunistic rioters and an opposition conspiracy to topple him by force.

“I had advised them (the opposition) not to violate the constitution, which they did not heed,” he said.

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