Eskinder Nega, Keleb Seyoum and Sintayehu Chekol and amongst the 5 defendants going through terrorism fees
By Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil
Addis Abeba, October 23/2020 – Throughout a listening to held yesterday on the Federal Excessive Court docket Lideta Department, the protection group representing Eskinder Nega, Founding father of the opposition Balderas for real Democracy, and 4 different going through terrorism fees with Eskinder, objected the prosecutor’s request for closed session and behind curtain witness listening to in opposition to defendants.
In yesterday’s listening to the federal prosecutors have offered a written response to the sooner objection filed by the protection lawyer and tabled a request for witnesses to testify in a closed listening to and behind a curtain for “their safety”. Prosecutors argued that witnesses had been identified people to the defendants and their associates. “If they testify openly, they may be in danger. The witnesses are afraid of their safety because of the weight of the case. Previously during the pretrial witnesses hearing, they have been threatened including death threats, ” the federal prosecutors mentioned.
The prosecutors added that they’ve 20 witnesses lined up and need 16 of them to testify in a closed courtroom and the opposite 4 to testify behind a curtain. In addition they insisted that as a result of the character of the crimes the defendants had been suspected to have dedicated concerned inciting non secular and ethnic violence, which constituted a risk to nationwide safety.
Nonetheless, in a seven web page plea offered to the courtroom the primary defendant Eskinder Nega argued in opposition to the prosecutors notion. “Even for the defendants of the ‘Red Terror’ case, witnesses weren’t requested to testify behind a curtain; when these defendants had been launched after finishing their jail phrases, they had been peacefully reunited with the neighborhood together with those that testified in opposition to them. This exhibits that there is no such thing as a tradition of vengeance in opposition to witnesses in Ethiopia,” Eskinder mentioned.
He additionally cited examples of courtroom proceedings of genocide circumstances in Germany and in Rwanda the place witnesses testified in public trials. Eskinder additional argued that placing witnesses behind a curtain is a Latin American pattern through which witnesses testify in opposition to drug trafficking defendants for his or her security, and such follow doesn’t match and isn’t practiced within the Ethiopian context.
Eskinder additionally requested the prosecutors to respect their earlier guarantees to make the entire course of clear for the courtroom to carry a public listening to, together with permitting the media to cowl witness listening to.
Keleb Seyoum, the third defendant within the file, additionally argued together with Eskinder againist prosecutor’s request to guard witnesses whether or not they’re her acquaintances or not.
Askale Demissie, the fourth defendant within the file, informed the courtroom that she wished to see and cross study the witnesses within the case she was accused on: organizing residents of Addis Abeba to incite violence.
“The trial should be overturned and the testimony should be made public,” the protection group argued. “There are 20 types of witness protections listed in ethiopia’s witness protection Proclamation. However, prosecutors are now requesting the maximum protection of witnesses which has not be practiced previously.”
The protection legal professionals additionally disputed prosecutor’s assertion that witnesses had been threatened in the course of the pretrial periods after testifying backstage and mentioned the prosecutors “didn’t current any proof to the courtroom that they’d been threatened.”
The sixth and the seventh defendants are nonetheless being tried in absentia and the courtroom ordered the Federal Police Investigator to seem earlier than the courtroom on December 8, 2020 to elucidate why the 2 defendants weren’t current.
After listening to the 2 aspect’s argument on the the standing of listening to from the prosecutor’s witnesses the courtroom adjourned the following listening to till December 8, 2020 to rule on the standing witness listening to.
Eskinder has requested s nearer date and informed the courtroom: “we’re scarifying for each minute spent, and we’re caught throughout our preparations for election. Therefor we ask the courtroom to tell superior our bodies that we want time for election.” Nonetheless, the courtroom upheld its choice to carry the following listening to on December 08. AS
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