Trial of CUD leaders postponed again

October 6th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

KALITI October 6: (AFP)– The trial of 111 Ethiopians, including 29 of CUD leaders, accused of plotting to overthrow the government resumed briefly Thursday after a two-month adjournment only to be suspended again on procedural grounds.

“This session was called to rule whether the objection made by three of the accused on whether additional proof submitted by the prosecution was admissible or not … but as we have no quorum among the judges we cannot issue a ruling,” presiding judge Leoul Gebremariam said. “A ruling will be made October 13,” he said before adjourning the trial.

The accused, including about 20 journalists and human rights activists, are on trial for “conspiracy to use force to overthrow the constitutional government.”

At least 54 of the accused, including leaders of the main opposition group, Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), are also accused of high treason and genocide and could face the death penalty.

All but three of the accused have chosen not to be represented by lawyers on grounds that the judiciary is not independent.

The Ethiopian government has regularly accused the CUD of fomenting violence and of plotting to overthrow the government ever since elections in May 2005, which the opposition alleges were riddled with fraud.

Following the bitterly disputed vote, at least 84 people were killed in Addis Ababa in outbreaks of violence in June and November 2005.

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