October 31, 2014
After four months of torture and arrest, the Ethiopian government prosecutors have today charged 10 people of links, membership and leadership with and in the Diaspora based opposition movement that is banned by the Ethiopian government, Ginbot 7. At least four among the 10 are prominent members and officials of Ethiopia based legally registered opposition parties. No person has been charged in absentia.
The 10 are charged under the file of Zelalem Workagenehu, a postgraduate university student. The list includes:
1. Zelalem Workagenhu – a postgraduate student of Addis Abeba University and a writer
2. Habtamu Ayalew – Public Relations Head of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ)
3. Daniel Shibeshi – Organisational Affairs Head of UDJ
4. Abraha Desta – Central Committee member of Arena Party and lecturer at Mekele University
5. Yeshiwas Assfea – Council member of Blue (Semayawi Party)
6. Yonatan Wolde
7. Abraham Solomon
8. Solomon Girma
9. Berhanu Degu
10. Tesfaye Teferi
The two main morals of the charges are one “working together with terrorist organisations” and “membership in Ginbot 7 and participation in criminal activities”. The first defendant Zelalem has been charged of being a leader of Ginbot 7 and recruiting members”. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants have been charged of using legally registered opposition party as a cover to pursue the aims of Ginbot 7 and also using social media to contact Fasil Yenealem, whom the charge referred to as a member of the Movement and others.
The next appointment has been set for November 5, 2014 to decide if they should be given bail or not.
The defendants requested not to be returned to the notorious Meakelawi prison where they stayed for the past four months and the Court ordered that they can be moved to the Addis Abeba Prison (Sostegna).
De Birhan has learnt that the defendants’ familes have been called over the past week to come and collect the belongings of the prisoners such as their electronic gadgets and other materials that were taken in police custody when they were detained.