Teddy Afro’s attorney and editor of Addis Neger sentenced – Eskinder Nega, Addis Ababa

August 6th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Judge Luel Gebremariam sentenced Teddy Afro’s defense attorney Milllion Assefa, to a month and twenty days imprisonment, while also imposing a suspended one month imprisonment on the editor of Addis Neger, Mesfin Negash. (more…)

Judge Luel Gebremariam sentenced Teddy Afro’s defense attorney Milllion Assefa, to a month and twenty days imprisonment, while also imposing a suspended one month imprisonment on the editor of Addis Neger, Mesfin Negash.

The sentencing was for a news report that appeared on the July 26 issue of Addis Neger, which carried a story about the controversial trial of Teddy Afro. The story quoted the defendant’s attorney, Million Assefa, who spoke of his intention to press charges against the presiding judge at the judicial administration commission; which screens the judiciary. The defendant’s attorney deemed the last ruling by the court ,which mandated for the continuation of the trial after the finale of the dubious evidences presented by the state prosecutor, as illegal.

The judge conceded that the statement was made out of court and that disciplinary complaints could be filed against him, but insisted that both his and the court’s reputations have been compromised.

Judge Leul also chastised and imposed the suspended sentence on Mesfin Negash, even though he and two other journalists, Abiy Teklemariam and Girma Tesfaw, offered an audio recording of the defendant’s attorney interview for evidence.The judge maintained that they are compelled by law not to run the story because “it infringes on the reputation of the court.”

VOA: Judiciary, Press Freedom in Ethiopia Questioned over Singer’s Trial

Listen to Report – Listen (MP3) audio clip

In Ethiopia, the trial of a controversial pop star is raising questions about the independence of the judiciary and of the press. The government has arrested a journalist covering the court hearings and a defense attorney. Both men are expected to appear in court today (Wednesday).

Ethiopia’s rising pop and reggae singer Teddy Afro has been in jail since April. He was charged with a hit and run road accident and remains in jail after being denied bail. Teddy has pleaded non-guilty, and his attorney argues that prosecutors have not presented enough evidence to detain his client.

But as of Monday, the defense attorney, as well as a journalist covering the trial joined the pop singer behind bars.

Mesfin Negash, the editor of a weekly newspaper in the Ethiopian capital could be sentenced to up to six months in prison, if found guilty of contempt of court. Facing the same charges and also in police custody is Teddy Afro’s defense attorney Million Assefa, who was quoted in an article published by the paper.

The judge overseeing the case said the interview constituted interference in the due process of law. He issued a subpoena for their arrest.

One of the editors of the newspaper Dagninet Mekonnen says his paper has done no wrong.

“We have absolute right to publish this material. The content of the interview with Teddy Afro’s lawyer Ato Million Assefa was that he (the attorney) wants to sue the judge for not complying with the right procedures. We have nothing to do with condemning the due process of law at hand.”

New York based Committee to Protect Journalists, the CPJ and Reporters Without Borders criticized the arrest of the journalist in separate statements. CPJ Africa Program research associate Mohamed Keita calls it a systematic way to detain journalists covering sensitive issues.

“It is rather unfortunate that a journalist be detained for essentially interviewing the lawyer of Teddy Afro and essentially doing his job.”

Journalists who were in court yesterday to report the incitement of the attorney and the journalist, said a US Embassy representative was present in the hearing.

Teddy Afro’s high-profile trial has grabbed the attention of many of his fans. Thousands of his followers rally in front of the courthouse whenever he appears in court. Within minutes, the police reportedly break up their demonstrations.

Government-controlled radio stations in Ethiopia have banned songs from Teddy Afro’s third album “yasteseryal”. “yasteseryal” makes an implicit mockery of what it sees as failure of political movements in the country since a socialist military junta overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.
This tune was particularly popular during Ethiopia’s parliamentary election in 2005. And many say the ban shows the singer is indeed controversial and that his trial is a political gimmick.

  1. Robele Ababya
    | #1

    Leul is insane. He will answer for the suffering of justice and freedom of the press in Ethiopia.

  2. | #2

    Leul you will pay the price sooner or later.

  3. tito
    | #3

    hi, guys, everyone is in sane ,please don’t judge for everyone, but judge for yourself.

  4. Girma Kassa
    | #4

    The Judiciary is under the control of the EPRDF. I see this as an assault by EPRDF leaders against free press.

    I think we may be heading to a very uggly path. I ask for EPRDF authorities to dosomething about it so that the editors of Addis Neger be released immediately.

    Crooks like Leul Gebremariam must not be allowed to make a mockery of justice.

  5. MUNA
    | #5

    (DIROS KEBAB ENQULAL ERGIB YITEBEKAL?)

  6. Allen 7
    | #6

    MUNA… You are abousolutely RIGHT.

  7. Freeteddy
    | #7

    Dear Judge Luel…You are abusing your prower…DO not relax One day EPRDF itself will send you to a cell after you have done thier job…Then you will test how hell is life in prisen…You stupid how can you do that to inocent citizens…Are you not a beliver in God.Do you think ethiopia remains under your control forever…You better hang yourself…

  8. yazachew
    | #8

    Only those who do not expet anything are
    never dissappointed.
    Hello everyone the court is EPRDF.
    This problem is also a chance for us
    to do the best we can!
    MESSAGE FOR LEUL
    Mistake are part of the dues one pays for a full life you will pay your dues JUSTICE WILL BE SERVE!

  9. hayet
    | #9

    liveing in the western country. doesnt mean you know every thing. dedeb hulu car washers what about in the west?? if judge do some thing will you say some thing too???. DEDEB HULU AMERICA NORSH NA YOU TRYING TO BLAME EVERY THING. GET LOST NARROW PPL GO AND WASH YOUR DIRTYS ASMESSAY HULU. WHY DONT YOU CARE FOR HUNGRY PPL. COZ TEDDY IS KNOWN YOU TRY TO PUT HIM AS IF HE IS THE GOD. I MY SLFE I CAN SEE YOU AS DEDEB IGNORANT WALFARE. THATS ALL.
    LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA AND REAL ETHIOPIANS.

  10. | #10

    Dear..hayat..You sound judge Luel himself…
    You have to go to English school before you
    go to court…
    You really told us how stupid you are..
    Do you realy beleive that TEDDY deserves jel.
    Think one time atleast if you can think twice…

  11. Ankachew
    | #11

    Let us learn from Teddy Afro`s ignorance and negligence DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE AND KILL innocent boy bystander, becasue such act is not only immoral one but punishable according the law of the land.

  12. Belay Zeleke
    | #12

    Dear Hayet,
    I you have written a “comment” not in response to the article posted rather attacking others who participated in the comment section. As you have indicated most diaspora Ethiopians may be indeed Car Washer or even some on welfare system. But keep in mind that we are Ethiopians first and foremost. In addition, unlike your ignorant lecture on behalf of TPLF cadres we Ethiopians will never submit to tyranny or will never betray our identity as Ethiopian for a piece of land or cash value $.

    Dear Hayet
    The word “DEDEB, IGNORANT and Narrow minded is most suited for your TPLF masters not for true Ethiopians who are frustrated and angry abut the law of the jungle under Woyane regime. In response to your nonsense comment, I could have said a lot but I would simply prefer to remind you that the days of TPLF and their messenger cadres are numbered. Today, you may be enjoying the lavish lifestyle as a TPLF embassy employee or a paid spy in diaspora community; tomorrow you will be X-TPLF cadre who is unemployed, on welfare system and looking for a car wash job.

    Hayet next time make sure you learn the principles of A B C D and how to properly type words. These are words in your comment but not certain if they are Latin or English words: “liveing, doesnt, DIRTYS, SLFE”

    *I have seen a lot of morons in my life time but not to extent of Woyane and their followers*

  13. hayet
    | #13

    YOU SEE.THATS WHY I HATE THOS CAR WASHERS. I DONT MEAN FOR ALL MY BROTHERS LIVING IN THE WESTERN COUNTRY.BUT FOR SOME IDIOT PPL. LOOK WHAT YOU SAY DEDEB GUYS. 1 I AM NOT WEYANE YOU CAN GO AND DIE WITH WEYANE I DONT CARE ABOUT WEYANE.2 YOU KEEP TELLING ME TO GO TO SCHOOL BECAUSE I DIDENT WRITE GOOD ENGLISH KKK SHAME ON YOU SLAVE IAM AN ETHIOPIAN HAW CAN I BE PERFECT ENGLISH WRITER???. ANY WAY YOU PPL PLS GIVE ME A BREAK I DIDEN SAY TEDDY SHOULD BE IN JEL OR FREE. I WISH HIM TO BE FREE DEEP FROM MY HEART. BUT MY POINT WAS WHY DONT YOU CARE FOR OUR MAGEORITY PPL WHO SUFER BY HUNGER???
    DONT YOU HAVE TV. OR WHAT. PLS DONT GET ME WRONG I LOVE MY PPL AND I WONT YOU TO TALK ABOUT MAGEORITY ETHIOPIANS THATS ALL. BUT PLS STOP TELLING ME IF IAM WEYANE CADRE OR BLA BLA.
    I AM REAL AGAINEST WEYANE BUT HAW CAN YOU FIGHT WEYANE??? THERE BY BLA BLA SHIT SHAME ON YOU THOS WHO INSULT ME AS IF IAM WEYANE.

  14. mimi
    | #14

    hayet
    I have one suggestion for you go back to school and read more then come back

    Doma Ras

  15. hayet
    | #15

    MIMI_______ wrote hayet i have one suggestion
    4 you go back to school. DOMA RAS. KAKAKAKAKAK
    shame on you mimi sweet.

  16. Gudugena
    | #16

    What talented Lawyer!
    “If you think my client no need a lawyer shall i quit?’ if you bring professional Dr, why don’t you allow me cross examining you represent the prosecutor?’Why the third testimony be anonymous and not appear within twenty days according the civil code which is the case was rendered tow years ago? the Judge declare “if you are not satisfied in my judgment you should write to court bar your complaint” But Honourable judge
    you did not bring the lawyer to lawyers bar “contempt of the court” just you send police officer you put the journalist and attorney in custody and you give your judgment
    So, what it makes you better than Military Dictatorship? what I understood is you are inexperienced “fernje school scout boy”!!!!
    How so called Democracy, Good governance, Accountability,Peace,Integrity,Loyalty,
    Transparency, Honesty,and Responsiveness will
    Implemented in Ethiopia When we have such DRACONIAN???? Please Learn evreyone!!!Thank you.

  17. mesfen zeleke
    | #17

    wey gud a lot of ppl became so confused by teddy afro. why guys? after all teddy afro is alcholic and he use chat everyday so its normal when you use tomuch drag and drive. so pls stop tomuch talking about one azmary. my heart gos to poor boy who is dead. remember he is also proud ethiopiawi. may god help my ethiopian ppl.

  18. Workitu
    | #18

    Do people like Leoul live among the community or they live in camps with weyane cadres?

    I mean, this is abuse of power of the highest order. Wey hagere, yemanim zeregna mechawecha honsh.

    Leoul and his likes forget that govenments come and go.

    Have you heard what happened to Mauritania, a north African country, yesterday, the military took over a democratically elected government because they didn’t like the way the government is being run. They have promised fresh elections in 3 months time.

    Only in Ethiopia do outragious things happen without anybody taking any action.
    Althogh I don’t advocate coup d’etas, the situation in Ethiopia invites one. It is human nature to resist oppression.

    A word to the wise is enough.

  19. yazachew
    | #19

    Hello Hayet
    can you be professional? say some good word or listen to others with your heart,with passion.it is a lot more meaningful and important than talking.
    If you are among the mony people who suffer from too much stress you know what it is like to feel out of control.emotional behavior is like any other behavior,if you practice it long enough it becomes a habit.The less said,the best said from you.

  20. hayet
    | #20

    HEY___ ETHIOPIAWIAN BROTHERS.

    I AM SO SORRY IF YOU PPL ARE ANGRY ABOUT MY COMMENT. I SIMPLY TRYING TO SAY WHY DONT WE TALK
    ABOUT THE HUNGRY PPL WICH WE SEE THEM ON TH TV.
    AND ALSO I WAS ANGRY ABOUT THE BOY WHO DEI. I DONT REALY KNOW WHO KILL HIM. BUT SOME PPL COMMENTS MAKE ME VERY ANGRY. THEY DIDENT CARE FOR THE DEAD BOY. BUT THEY CARE SO MUCH FOR TEDDY AFRO. REMEMBER EVEN IF HE IS THE KILER
    I KNOW MANY OF YOU. IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO VOTE FOR TEDDY TO BE FREE. YOU WILL VOTE BLINDLY. AND THAT MAKES ME SO SAD AND SO ANGRY.
    YOU LOVE TEDDY BLINDLY WHY?? IF YOU PPL LOVE ETHIOPIANS YOU MUST LOVE FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS SAME THING. OTHER WHYS PLS DONT TELL ME AS IAM AGAINEST TEDDY. AND DO NOT JUDGE. I KNOW YOU GUYS YOU HATE ME SO MUCH. BUT AGAINE IM SORRY DEEP FROM MY HEART.PEACE

  21. | #21

    Dear Hayat you are actig like human rights advocate..It is good to be human right advocate..But you have to start speaking for the lifes kiiled by the ethiopian military force publicly…You can not deny that b/c the killers themselves admitted that. they killed them purposly..So bring those to justice who killed civilans in Addis.. Gambela.. Awasa ..etc..But Teddy is suffering without clear evidence that shows he is criminal…
    Have you heard that Millon Assefa is realesed from prison but teddy still behind bar…You know why because Judge Luel was wrong or.b/c Millon is EPRDF and Teddy is true ethiopia..

    Free Teddy NOW like Millon Assefa..

  22. yazachew
    | #22

    Dear Hayet
    Thankyou for your sign of positive and encouraging words!You realy sound a wise man.
    Remember nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
    Believe meunarmed truthand unconditional love will have the final word in reality.Please do not find fault,find a remedy.Hayet you said do not judge it is great feed back for you.
    I support some of your motive,you do have some
    great meaning for true ethiopia.
    good luck!

  23. | #23

    Teddy i love u again and adain death for the goverment of ethiopia. God love Teddy

  24. | #24

    i dont wish death for the government but all we can do is pray to God and wish teddy all our best. how ever Luel, he will face it no matter when and how. God bless teddy and all of us

  25. keredintemam,
    | #25

    teddy has right he doesnt done any thing on dead persone .he must bed releas from jeal

  26. keredintemam,
    | #26

    i mean u must keep his right

  27. miki
    | #27

    HI LEOUL PLEASE THINK AGAIN AGAIN???…… YOU ARE A MESSANGER OF WEYANNE(NAZI MELES) WE LOVE AND PROUD FOR TEDDY AFRO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. HAYAT
    | #28

    I AM FROM ERITRIA WE LOVE TEDDY AFRO(DHLAK)SORT LIVE FOR LEOUL(WEYANNE)AND SHABEYA.GOD BLESS TEDDY AFROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

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