TEDDY AFRO AND INJUSTICE – By Judge Woldemichael Meshesha

January 16th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Nobody is above the law. This is the principle that governs democracy. The law is a means that the people have invented to live in peace together and governed by it. Such rules are issued either by the government that in power as result of historic events through its the parliamentary lawmakers. Before implementing the law has to be brought before the people for discussions.


Nobody is above the law. This is the principle that governs democracy. The law is a means that the people have invented to live in peace together and governed by it. Such rules are issued either by the government that in power as result of historic events through its the parliamentary lawmakers. Before implementing the law has to be brought before the people for discussions.

Right immediately after coming to power, the TPLF/EPRDF (the Woyyane), although did not head to the people’s opinion, did indeed come up with a constitution and other laws that could have paved the way for democratic development. However, from the beginning the Woyyane has been kept on eroding and finally buried it the law for good. That has been evidenced by the killings, illegal detentions and persecutions as seen following the aftermath of 2005 National Election. The regime that was bragging about the lack of strong opposition to be willing to meet half way has been bent on illegally dismantling all opposition political parties starting with winners of The National Election of 2005, the CUD, ONC and OFDM. As a result the law and respect for the human rights went down the drain. The regime became allergic to any criticism. It had continued bashing the people at will. This has gone down to the level of persecuting even artistes who sing about unity, peace and tolerance. The first victim of such action of the government is Tewodros Kassahun, aka “Teddy Afro”.

With carefully constructed, orchestrated and acted on malicious dramatic performance by the state security and pro-regime well handpicked unprofessional bodies of justice, Tewpodros Kassahun was accused of serious crime and sentenced to six years prison term and Eth. Birr 18,000 fine. When we claim the case against Teddy was fabricated and the sentence was illegal, we have valid reasons. We trust the following points would elaborate our claims.


The more-than-year-old case against Tewodros Kassahun has two parts. They are:

1) Case 1:- Trespassing the 1996 (EC) Criminal Code No. 543/3 and Transportation revised Regulation No. 279/56, Article 5/4 the accused drove without a driving license a BMW car, plate no. 2-59869 A. A. at place called “Fit Ber” on 02nd November 2007 (22 Meskerem 1999 E,C), 1:10 AM in after midnight knocking down and killing Degu Ybeltal, a pedestrian that was crossing the road from right to left, while the accused should have given the victim the priority; and

2) Case 2:- Trespassing the 1996 (EC) Criminal Code No. 575/2 leaving the injured unassisted Degu Yibeltal, after he was injured and escaping arrest

The Denial of Right to Bails

Be it from the Ethiopian Criminal Law and Regulations or the International law principles, both the event and the outcome of the event were a cause and its effect. If the event is one, then the case should have been also just one not two. Even if we assume Teddy had committed the crime then he should have been charged for killing Degu Yibeltal while driving without license and not stopping to help the injured. However, as it has been witnessed from the start the Ministry of Justice or the Prosecution Attorney had prearranged before the trial that Teddy would be found guilty as charged and that was why it divided the Case into two to deny the accused the right to bail and to obtain long –term sentence. The Court that should have checked the file and ordered the Attorney to adjust in accordance to Criminal Code 118 and 110, but accepted the case as charged.

The reason it took so long can be inferred from here to organise the issues in such a way to deny the accused the right to bail and keep him in detention while the fabricated evidences were collected and organized. When the right to bail issue was raised the court did allowed presenting both sides their cases. That was simply window dressing. Had the presiding judge submitted to code of conduct of the law, rather than the political pressure, he could have also ordered the prosecuting lawyer to adjust the case and bring it before the court according to the regulation. He knew from the start the outcome. If the two cases are allowed to go ahead the defendant was found guilty, the sum total of the two sentences would result to 15 years prison term. The law according to Criminal Code No 63 under this charge denies the right to bail. As a result when the judge allowed proceeding under such erroneous legal procedure the right to bail was already removed. Teddy was denied the right to argue his case from outside prison illegally and detained unjustly.

The Attorney’s Evidences and the Content of the Verdict

A. Two witnesses did say that the particular car was driven fast accompanied by tow Lada cars at the time of knocking down the victim. Only one witness said that it was Teddy’s car that knocked down the victim among the three speeding cars. One of the witnesses said he saw only speeding cars. Both witnesses said the car was green. Therefore, the unreliability of the witnesses can be judged from the following points.

1. The Ethiopian taxi colours are light blue. Light blue and green colours at that distance in that hour of the night cannot be distinguished.

2. It is unbelievable to imagine without a photographic camera or the person was ready in advance to observe those events about to take place with such details from that distance all the events that took place at the same place, like the car speed, the crossing pedestrian, and one specific in question car knocking down the victim and escaping. This is a miracle beyond anyone’s ability to record at the same time.

3. It is also unimaginable to gather all those evidences in one go – after seeing a very speeding care knocking down someone, and then running after that speeding car, catching up with it and then registering the plate and coming back to the victims after five minutes chase.

The other is the words of the officer who took the crime scene map. In his statement we find two important things.

1. On his original crime scene map, he wrote: “A car with unidentified plate has knocked down a man, killed and escaped and therefore this should be investigated and clarified.”

2. The other point that the so called eyes witnesses did not dare to disclose was that the officer also noted “when the deceased was knocked down the deceased and his friend were dragging each other while crossing the road”

B. The Written Secondary Evidences

1. Original document of an autopsy carried out on 02/11/06 (23/02/99) on a man deceased on 01/11/06 (22/02/99)

2. The allegedly corrected version of autopsy carried out on 03/11/06 (24/02/99) on a body deceased on 02/11/06 (23/02/99)

3. The deceased person’s photograph

4. The accident site map certificate

5. The evidence given to the Police by the absentee witness

The prosecuting attorney’s main evidences were the autopsy and the evidence given by the absentee witness to the Police. In traffic accident or any death the witness’s statement are corroborated by the autopsy carried out on the body. Therefore, let us take a closer look at the way the autopsy result was presented.
The Autopsy Evidence Presentation to the Court.

At the court, the autopsy carried out on the body of Degu Ybeltal was presented as follows:

1. The written evidence presented on the hearing day by the Attorney was a copy with a name “Isayas” written on it without the doctor’s name on it.

2. When the attorney was asked for the original he requested the decision be reached based on the copy itself.

3. The attorney who came up later with the original stated that the victim’s autopsy was carried out on 02/11/06 (23/02/99) on the body dead on 01/11/06 (22/02/00).

4. The judge just did not stop there, but instructed the attorney to go back get it changed bring the corrected evidence. It looked like the judge was telling the attorney to bring the well presentable forged document.

5. The attorney went away and came up with the adjusted date.

6. The Cuban doctor who signed the document from Menelik Hospital was called upon and the document was adjusted as per the request of the police.


One thing we can conclude is that the words of the witnesses were unreliable and inconclusive. We have also heard that the investigation had been carried out 13 days after the event had taken place. In principle, when someone is accused of killing someone and “pleads not guilty” for the crime of killing by car accident or any other way any judge will give more weight to the autopsy than the eye witnesses. This is to exclude the possibility that the deceased could have been killed by other causes before the incident. It was due to this that the attorney had a problem in regard to the evidence associated with the autopsy. The prosecuting attorney was unable to bring the required autopsy evidence in the whole one year. Why? We can infer from here that was due to the doctor’s refusal to change the date of the autopsy. They tell us this happened because she was not in the country. Probably she left the country due to the pressure she was put under to change the date of the autopsy. Anyway, any judge should also take the precautionary steps to protect the living one from being wrongly condemned for the crime he/she didn’t commit. That is why in the internationally accepted principle of justice demands the prosecutor should prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had committed the crime. As seen from the evidence, however, the prosecuting attorney’s evidence’s validity, leave alone for a presiding professional judge even for the lay man was not convincing and should have been thrown out. Just to pretend as if the court was giving weight to the case it adjourned the case several times to finally tell the accused that he was charged as accused and ordered him to defend himself.

Teddy’s Defence Evidences in Brief

We have seen the prosecuting attorney’s evidences and the verdict given in writing. Although it was evident that such weak case had been allowed deliberately to hold on, the defendant had called upon witnesses including the hospital doctors and the case was heard. In brief the following are the contents of the defence.


1. The first witness – “the eye witness” of the prosecuting attorney who did not want to obey court order was finally arrested and brought before court. He confirmed that he was member of the Police force, employed By the Police in the month of May 2005 (Miazia 1998). His regular area of duty was at the Arada section of the City, but on that particular day he was assigned to be on duty at “Fit Ber”, rather than his usual area of duty, up to early in the morning.

2. The Cuban doctor from the Hospital came back as a defence witness, gave his words that he signed the document because the doctor that originally carried out the autopsy was not around, when the change was authorized by the hospital administration. He said that he never saw the evidence that came from the police and no one gave it to him. According to him the doctor that carried out the autopsy indicated both on the death certificate as well as on all relevant documents as the person died on 01/11/06 (22/02/1999) and autopsy carried out on 02/11/06 (23/02/1999). The Cuban doctor brought the above into light which he did not say that before. On top of that, the doctor explained that the victim had bruises on his forehead and neck, and his right arm was broken, his back bone down to his waist was hurt. Although there were some blood sprinkles within his abdomen, no internal injury was observed.

3. Dr Yirdaw Ashagre confirmed that, the doctor that carried out the autopsy, although out of the country, put the consistent date information in all the relevant documents.

4. Dr Kassahun Adem confirmed that the error was mentioned by the police on the autopsy, and request for change of date was made by them

5. And finally, Abrham Mesele, the Dagmawi Minilik Hospital Head of Finance and Administration stated that the police claimed that the Amharic Tikimt 23 (02 November) was confused as Tikimt 22 Gregorian Calendar (01 November) and tried to look like the doctor made a mistake in the date.


Teddy’ defence attorney presented his written plea to be considered as a defence evidence which he pointed out that The Addis Ababa Police Inspector, Thewodros Bekel’s account of the event he gave to the First Instance Lideta Court where Police on duty at Fit Ber saw a car knocking down a pedestrian and had asked a Lada taxi driver to chase the offending car and get the plate number and come back. The driver obeyed and did exactly as being asked to do. However, the Police failed to take his name and address and now unable to locate him.

In a nutshell, Teddy’s evidences can be summarised as follows:

• The so called eye witness, the policeman that was forced to come back as defence witness, claimed that he was moved for that particular night from his usual duty place just for one night, by coincidence being on duty at the date where the event took place indicated that that witness was coached and not reliable.

• The Cuban doctor that signed the altered date of autopsy showed that he was asked to sign the prepared document based on the hospital administration’s request as per the request presented to them by police change his words and said that he never saw the police request.

• The additional evidence the doctor gave stating that that the victim had bruises on his forehead and neck, and his right arm was broken, his back bone down to his waist was hurt but although there were some blood sprinkles within his abdomen, there were no internal injuries could be inferred that Degu Yibaltal might have been beaten up by stick earlier, otherwise if as indicated by the prosecuting attorney, a car had run over him at that speed, his internal organs and stomach would have been more seriously hurt and internally seriously injured.

• The defence witness, the former Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr Yirdaw Ashagre confirmed that, although the autopsy doctor was out of the country the dates (“22/2/1999” and “23/02/1999”) both in the investigation and the main documents were consistent indicating that there was no error in the doctors date writing style.

• The other defence, Dr Kassahun Adam’s claim that the information’s error was spotted and changed must have been forced by the police to change the date rather than the doctor who carried out the autopsy made an error in writing the dates.

• The other defence witness from the hospital, Abrham Mesele’s claim that the error was committed by the autopsy doctor in confusion the Amharic “23” with English “22” just indicates further complication in building up false allegations and fabricating the evidences.

The fact that the police at the site who claimed to see a car knocking down the pedestrian, instead pursuing the offending car themselves but instructing a taxi driver to chase the offending car and obtain the plate number, which the taxi driver obeyed the Police orders and did exactly as instructed by the Police, but the Police failing to take the name and address of the taxi driver, so not unable to call upon him to testify is just a self evident that the case was artificially constructed. This shows the whole case was trumped up and deliberately fabricated to convict innocent Teddy as guilty. After all that fiasco, it is important to look at the verdict.


After all these self contradicting evidences Teddy was found guilty as charged and sentences to serve six years prison term and pay Eth. Birr 18,000 fine. The most bizarre statement in the verdict was the claim the prosecuting attorney had satisfactorily produced evidences that proved Teddy had committed the crime. As this was expected from the start, it did not come as a surprise. However, looking the way the verdict was reached it can safely be concluded a deliberate miscarriage of justice had been committed.


The court dropped Teddy’s defence evidences, particularly human evidences, on the basis that although there were differences in timing counted in hours, it was not denied that Teddy did not drive that particular car in question on that particular day. In justice, leave alone timing difference in number of hours, even in minutes does matter. Such significant evidence, leave alone for a professional judge, sitting on the justice throne to deliver justice, even a layman can see the significance.

On the other hand, the date of the autopsy document has a great value in reaching verdict than any other evidence. It is not something like the child play. When the judge commented on the need to change the date of the autopsy he stated that the change was only the change of the form and not the basic content. It was such suspicious and confusing evidence that the judge accepted and hastily found Teddy guilty as charged. Of course the change of the date is absolutely crucial above anything for Teddy. If the date and the house were not that important hen there was no need of mentioning it at all. If it was not that important why then was the judge so concerned to the extent of ordering the change of that date of the autopsy with such a care? Although the judge thought he was making a sensible comment, in fact he was contradicting himself. For a true professional judge, live alone difference in hours, even difference in minutes does matter.

The other dramatic performance was around Teddy’s written evidence. There was a letter from Traffic Monitoring Headquarters, requesting the First Instance Court to extend the hearing date until they would establish the plate of the car that caused the accident, when called upon as a witness by the prosecuting attorney. The judge threw out that evidence boldly claiming that the Traffic Police had no way of knowing the car plate. And that has nothing to do with the content of case. On the contrary, it is rather the presiding judge that did not want to know the content of the case. The evidence would reflect like mirror image that the defence witnesses were not actually on the spot. They could not even establish whether the case of the death was by a car accident or any other cause. The reason was that one of the witnesses claimed that he ran after the speeding car, chased it, caught up with it and managed to obtain and recorded the number of the plate within the range of five meters and returned to the crime scene. That contradicts the first claim that they were unable to identify the plate of the car. On another note, the people who were at the scene were members of the military force rather than members of the Police Force. Thirdly, even members of the military force who were physically present on the scene had no idea about the plate of the offending car. The other point that strengthens the hypothesis that the death could have been caused by another event rather than car accident was the fact that the doctors report on the autopsy stated there was no internal injury. Therefore, it indicates that there is a purpose why the crime had been deliberately falsely implicated on Teddy.

Teddy’s defence evidence that stated the doctor that carried out the autopsy wrote the body was brought to the hospital at 1:15 a.m. Now, the Police was saying the man was knocked down at 1:10 a.m. It was reported that the man died five minutes after the car chaser returned to the crime scent. If that was the case it is inconceivable the body could instantaneously be carried over from the crime scene to Menelik Hospital, the journey that would take, not seconds, not minutes but hours. It is absolutely unacceptable the judge that accepted such outrageous evidence as valid stood for the truth. The fairness of the judge is questionable and suspicious.

On top of that, Teddy’s car alleged to have caused accident was seized immediately the next morning. However it took them 13 days to carry examination on the body of the car. When the investigator was asked if there was any evidence on the car that showed whether that car had hit any one, his answer was that since the investigation was delayed that long it was not possible to determine whether that car hit anyone or not. That was of course evidence by itself there was some sort of arrangement to implicate Teddy without any evidence.

In addition, that particular car investigator’s statement regarding the deceased was being dragged across the road by one friend at the time of the accident contradicts the words of the first and second prosecuting attorney’s witness. The contradiction was the sign of witness coaching, where the actors forget or mix up their lines.
In Summary, the court or the judge blindly accepted such weak accusing evidences, throwing out Teddy strong defence evidences and reaching conviction. That is why the verdict on Teddy was a typical miscarriage of justice and the judge was unfair judge, ungoverned by professional code of ethics. That is why we claim that there is no justice in Ethiopia. That is why we claim that the justice system in Ethiopia is not independent.

When it is stated there is no one above the law, even those who edited the law could be held accountable through their agencies by the same law when they commit an illegal offence. And the process of judgement should be reliable after God where the truth would be sifted out from the false by the judge that was on the throne of justice at the time of the proceedings. The tool that would help the judge to distinguish the truth from the untruth would be the law itself and evidence that was brought before him/her. Unless the judge that has vowed to uphold the truth to prevail justice by submitting himself/herself to pursue justice, the people whom he/she had judged would judge him/her when the time comes and the consequence is severe. The judges that are engaged in deliberate miscarriage of justice, those who had chosen to twist the truth to carry out the will of those in power should better confess their sins and start submitting to their conscience. They should better start thinking about the judgement day would come rather than deluding themselves it wouldn’t.

  1. Hiwot
    | #1

    The last two leaders had been forced to leave their poer.Another one is Melese.When are these bone head would learn? I can’t wait for Melese’s last day.They used to condemn the previuos leaders they do exactly the same thing.poor Ethiopia!

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