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Ethiopien - Meles' regime gennemfører udemokratisk retssag mod kritikere af regimet

ETHIOPIA: Opposition leaders denied bail

IRINnews.org, 4. januar 2006

En lang række oppositionspolitikere står anklaget for anstiftelse af oprør mod regeringen, folkemord, m.m. og deres sager vurderes vurderes af regimets domstol som så alvorlige, at de ikke kan løslades mod kaution. På trods af omfattende international kritik opretholdet regimet, der selv står anklaget for netop de samme forbrydelser som de nu har fabrikeret mod deres politiske modstandere. Af de mindst 8.000, der er blevet arresteret siden urolighederne startede i november, vil omkring 3.000 få deres sag bedømt i retten. Retssystemet i Ethiopien er fuldstændig i lommen på den stadig stærkere kritiserede premierminister Meles Zenawi.

ADDIS ABABA, 4 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Ethiopian opposition leaders facing charges of treason and genocide were refused bail amidst chaotic scenes that forced a judge to halt their court hearing.

"The majority of the charges carry sentences of above 15 years imprisonment, so after hearing the evidence we have decided to refuse bail," said Judge Adil Ahmed on Wednesday.

As the judge walked out of the hearing, baton-wielding police attempted to restore order to the federal high court and defendants shouted that the charges against them were untrue.

"I am accused of fabricated charges," said Berhanu Nega, senior opposition leader and mayor of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. "We do not recognise the authority of the court to try us. We were only serving our country as responsible leaders."

Relatives in the packed courtroom began wailing as the judge hurriedly halted the one-and-a-half-hour hearing and ordered the defendants back to Kaliti prison on the outskirts of Addis Ababa.

Defence lawyers had boycotted the proceedings, claiming that they had not been allowed access to their clients, in violation of the Ethiopian constitution.

The next hearing is scheduled on 23 February, and unless the defendants appeal the bail ruling they look set to remain behind bars until the trials begin.

Some 129 opposition leaders, journalists and activists face charges of attempting to overthrow the government during violent demonstrations against the outcome of parliamentary elections, a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment.

Some 94 defendants, including two teenage boys, face genocide charges, while 42 are charged with high treason. Other offences include conspiracy and armed uprising.

At least 32 people living in exile will be tried in absentia, although police announced in court that they had apprehended two more of the accused in northern Ethiopia.

The disputed elections in May returned the ruling party - led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi - to power. At least 88 people were killed in clashes with police during protests in June and November.

About 8,000 people arrested during a massive crackdown beginning on 1 November have been freed, but Meles has insisted that around 3,000 people will face charges.

© IRIN - This article appeared originally on IRIN News.org and is published by engelund.dk according a general agreement. To view the original article, please click here.
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is a project of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
[This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.]


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Opdateret d. 5.1.2006