April 9th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

1.Public Demonstration postponed

In UDJ UPDATE 24, we had announced that we were going to stage a controlled public demonstration. (more…)

1.Public Demonstration postponed

In UDJ UPDATE 24, we had announced that we were going to stage a controlled public demonstration. The City Administration told us, orally, to postpone the demonstration until after the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting currently taking place in Addis. The law [Proclamation 3/1991, Article 6 (2)] says that if the relevant government body decides to postpone an event, it has to give, to the applicant, the reason(s) for the postponement in writing. They refused to give us their reasons in writing. They gave us a surprising reason for their refusal: “We have never done it before.” In other word, they had never given their reason for postponing an event in writing.

Here, they goofed in two ways: 1) They don’t seem know or don’t care to know or they have forgotten that Article 6(2) of the above Proclamation obligates them to give their reason(s) in writing; 2) We do have a letter in our file–a letter written by the relevant office of the City Administration–giving a reason for postponing an event we had planned to conduct recently. Our Standing Committee on Youth Affairs had recently planned a progamme of literary evening open to the public to be held at the Exhibition Center. As usual, we submitted our application of notification to the relevant body. We were asked to postpone the event because the last AU Summit was taking place. We accepted their suggestion and asked them to give us their official reason in writing. And they did! We have the letter in our files!

The public demonstration was supposed to take place today, April 9. Pushing surprising matters aside for the time being, we submitted—today—our letter to the relevant government body notifying it that the public demonstration will now take place next Thursday, April 16, 2009. Everything else will be as was planned for April 9 (see UDJ UPDATE 24).

2.Birtukan’s case in court

It is to be recalled that Birtukan had lodged, through a lawyer retained by UDJ, a complaint before the court saying that her constitutional right of being visited by relatives, friends, legal counselor, etc. It is also to be recalled that the court had decided that: 1) the case was tenable; 2) the was within its jurisdiction. The sepondent, the Prison Commission, was asked to respond. It did on April 2, 2009, with the following points of argument:

a. The court has no jurisdiction over the case;
b. The court cannot interfere in the internal affairs of the prison commission;
c. The defending lawyer does not have power of attorney to defend the plaintiff;
d. The time for lodging complaints had expired;
e. The complaint was lodged without first clearing with the commission for a solution might have been found without having to go to court;

The respondent did not say anything on the substance of the case. In other words, it did not accept or refute the complaint. The court adjourned to meet on May 15, 2009, to decide on the merits of the objections.

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