De Birhan’s Co-blogger Zelalem Workagenegu and his two friends Yonatan Wolde and Bahiru Degu were in Lideta Court today after 503 days in prison.
Zelalem, Yonatan and Bahiru
They were accused of links to the Diaspora based Ginbot 7 Movement and for applying to attend an internet security related training abroad.
Today, they were set to present their defense but none of the defense witnesses were brought to the Court by the police. Some of the defense witnesses that Zelalem had named were journalist Eskinder Nega, Andargachew Tsige, Daniel Shibeshi and Yeshwas Assefa. Yonatan on his part named Abraha Desta as one of his defense witnesses.
The defendants were allowed to present their defenses in writing and verbally.
According to those who were in the Court Zelalem reportedly said “in solitary confinement for 41 days, beaten and insulted.”
Zelalem’s own friend, Bahiru charged for applying to this training said in Court today he “was forced to drink his urine, waterboarded, flogged naked when he was held in the Central (Maekelawi) prison.”
Zelalem contributed to the Diaspora based De Birhan Blog and was completing his Masters Degree research in Public Administration at the Addis Abeba University (AAU), Ethiopia until the date of his arrest in July 2014.
The witness hearing is adjourned for tomorrow November 24, 2015.
Only the witnesses of the last defendant, Tesfaye Teferi, charged in Zelalem’s file but having no relationship, have been heard today.
Some background information about today’s defendants is available here https://globalvoices.org/2015/09/23/zone9-bloggers-are-not-alone-more-ethiopian-netizens-face-terrorism-charges/