Prosecutor seeks death for 38 prisoners

July 9th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

BBC ( Monday, 9 July 2007) — An Ethiopian prosecutor has demanded the death penalty for a group of 38 opposition leaders found guilty of links to violent election protests. (more…)

BBC ( Monday, 9 July 2007) — An Ethiopian prosecutor has demanded the death penalty for a group of 38 opposition leaders found guilty of links to violent election protests.Prosecutor Abraham Tetemke said they had tried to bring down the government.

Among them are several of the capital’s elected MPs and city councillors, including Berhanu Negga, mayor-elect of Addis Ababa.

Some 193 people were killed in protests at alleged rigged elections in 2005. Most of the dead were protesters.

The 38 Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leaders originally faced treason and genocide – which sparked international condemnation and cuts in aid.

The judge had been due to pass sentence but he adjourned the hearing for a week to allow those convicted the chance to respond to the prosecutor’s statement.

They have so far refused to recognise the court or enter any defence – the reason why the judges said they were forced to find them guilty as charged last month.

Armed rebellion

One woman sitting among the friends and relatives laughed derisively when the prosecutor demanded the death sentences.

The judge stopped the proceedings and she was escorted from the court.

The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says the constant delays are hard for some of the prisoners’ families to bear.

Some women were visibly upset; others said bitterly that the government was deliberately delaying the case and playing with their lives.
Their offences included outrage against the constitution and, in the case of party leader, Hailu Shawel, and four others, inciting, organising and leading armed rebellion.

But our reporter says the sentences may not be the end of the story.

The government has repeatedly said it cannot interfere in the judicial process.

However once sentence has been passed, then there may be the possibility of clemency or pardon.

Their relatives say the 38 have signed a document which could see them freed.

Our reporter says this could be some form of apology or plea for mercy.

The government has denied accusations that the convictions were intended to stifle political dissent.

But an opposition lawyer said the trial was a sham and mockery of justice.

Hundreds of thousands took part in demonstrations complaining of fraud and rigging in the elections won by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s party.

Most of the dead were protesters killed by security forces.

An independent inquiry carried out by an Ethiopian judge concluded that the police had used excessive force.

He went on to accuse them of carrying out a massacre. The judge later fled Ethiopia, saying he had been put under pressure to change his findings and had received death threats.

The government points out that it introduced multi-party elections to Ethiopia after years of military rule.

In the elections, the opposition made huge gains but says it was cheated out of victory.

Three months ago, a judge threw out controversial charges of attempted genocide and treason against another 111 people arrested after the election protests.

The violence and the charges of election fraud have tarnished Mr Meles’ image as a favourite of Western donors and one of a new wave of reforming African leaders.

  1. David
    | #1

    What woyane doing is all crap. This is an act of bullying our leaders just to get them sign its silly proposal which demands them to ask for mercy and pardon.

  2. | #2

    Ethiopian People need to wake up and face the facts. This gangsters are mercilous and would not show any mercy to our leaders and our country. Advocating peaceful struggle in Ethiopia is the same as supporting Weyane. This people dont understand what the meaning of peace, there is only one thing that they understand and that is armed struggle. The willingness to fight is the precondition for peace. Let us all join EPPF and save our hearo’s and our nation.

  3. sholla
    | #3

    lets fight the weyanes by helping HR 2003 to pass the congress.
    please visit prof.Almariams page and ac on evreything arranged action plan.

    stand up for your right

  4. mot
    | #4



    woyanem feraj hono lemot yidadal. difrettu niketu yetim ayadarisew yerasun MOt eyafatene new. DEGAFIWOCHU EN america ANIKREW ENDMITFUT ALITAYEWW. GIZE YESETEW KIL NEW NEGERU YAGEGNEWAL YEGNA FERAJ… DEDEB WEDE DEDBIT ZIMB BICHA.

  5. Tigist
    | #5

    I hope that Kinijit is working to have three or more hours of a radio program to Ethiopia to rally the public. I still believe that we can paralyze Weyanne with a peaceful disobedience. All what we need to do is teach our people what they should do with out hearting any body or destroying property. If we all rally and implement the peaceful struggle step by step, the whole country will be ungovernable to Weyanne. Weyannes are evils that have no country to care for and no passion, as human being, to feel others’ pain. They have no religion and no moral value. The effective way of fight against them would be the peaceful struggle, but we have to bring the peaceful struggle on high gear and in a full swing. Hurry up the Kinijit leaders! If there is any meaning to our struggle at all, it is time to use the Tensay radio right away to teach a lesson on how to implement a peaceful straggle. That should go hand in hand with the effort to pass the HR 2003 bill.

  6. kuku
    | #6

    hey how u been i dont kow why our country cant have a new president foreever we want our brothers and sisters to be free they didnt do anything dont hate on them becase they are smart and they are not tie like meles so i will support the hr 2003 bil;l please let the people who are in gale be free i apriciate for giving me this chance to support and we love you try your best!!!!!!!!!!

  7. hayalnet
    | #7

    It was very shocking to hear such a word from the prosecutor to me and I had a severe headche all the night. Here after, I lost hope in the nation itself. I completely make sure that peaceful struggle will bring about nothing. Please Professor Almariam, comment on this and let’s change our way of struggle. But if the sentence goes into action, I can assure you that Ethiopia will be the second Ruanda even more severe than that was in Ruanda. The proposed genocide by woyanne will be transferred into action. Believe me when I am writing this comment, I was not emotional. But remember what the Reggae king BoB Marley says “How long shall we kill our profit?”.
    May God save Ethiopia forever!

  8. Tegen
    | #8

    Tisk Tisk Tisk!!!!! it all come down to this, we all know WOYANE is not dumb enough to actually carry the verdict but this will make sure that none of them will return to the political arena ever, because once a convicted criminal will automatically loose the right to participate in forth comming elections.

    The past two years, all you loosers did was BADO FUKERA and SHILELA you have called the government so many names that I can’t even remember all, you refered to the court as a KANGAROO court…….but look who got played now…kkkk begging mercy from the KANGAROO court and from the WERARI YE WEYANE BANDA MENGIST.

    Where is the ELKIT that you promissed us will happen if the “leaders” are not set free??????? where is the down fall of Ethiopia?????? where is the YERUWANDA AYNET ELKIT??????? nothing nothing nothing….because the people know now who is who and they are more civilized than you think.

    Ethiopia has lost so many precious people and by far this are not one of the finest….but they will be beg for mercy and will be set free after taking a good lesson that WOYANE is not like YE MENGED DAR KIOSK that can be destroyed in weeks.


  9. fish
    | #9

    I read one sticker saying “Poleticians and dipper should be changed very often for the same reason”. Don’t you think it is quiet right?

  10. Genet
    | #10

    Hulachinem bezu awertenal bezu asebenal ahunem gen hulun seriw yewyane meneget new. Wanaw neger gen kehulum belay yehon egziabeher alena yenezih leEthiopia hizeb belew erasachew asalefew yestuten azawntoch fered esu yekeflal ena berteten enseley.

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