June 12, 2007

Chance For Peace Thrown Away: Kinjit Leaders Convicted

AP - June 11, 2007 - An Ethiopian court convicted 39 opposition leaders and others Monday in connection with election violence after a trial that earned condemnation from human rights activists.

They will be sentenced on July 8, said Judge Adil Ahmed, after convicting the 39 because they failed to put up a defense. The charges included “instigating and organizing rebellion against the government” and “outrages against the constitutional order.”

The Federal High Court trial began in December 2005 following postelection violence that erupted during protests over polls six months earlier.

The opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats, but Prime Minister Meles Zenawi held onto power. The opposition claimed the vote was rigged, and EU observers said the polls were marred by irregularities.

Initially, the opposition leaders, journalists and others were charged with treason, inciting violence and attempted genocide. Ahmed dropped the treason and attempted genocide charges in April. Later that month, the court freed 25 prisoners, among them eight journalists.

Since April, a total of 48 people faced four other charges, but only nine chose to put a defense, the judge said on Monday.

The trial has been widely condemned by international human rights groups as an attempt to silence Ethiopian government critics. The opposition leaders have claimed the trial is politically motivated.

Late last year, Ethiopia acknowledged that its security forces killed 193 civilians protesting alleged election fraud, but insisted they did not use excessive force. A senior judge appointed to investigate the violence had accused the security forces of excessive force.

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የአቡነ ጳውሎስ "ሐውልተ ስምዕ"

ነጻ ፓትርያርክ ምርጫ ቢሆን ኖሮ ማንን ይመርጡ ነበር? እንበልና ሁሉም ነገር ሥርዓቱን ጠብቆ የተከናወነ የእጩዎች ምርጫ ቢሆን ኖሮ፣ አሁን የምናነሣቸው ጉድለቶች ባይኖሩ ኖሮ፣ 6ኛው ፓትርያርክ እንዲሆን የምትመርጡት ማንን ነበር? (ማሳሰቢያ፦ አሁን ያለው ክፍፍል እና የመንግሥት ተጽዕኖ ባይኖር ኖሮ ተብሎ የሚመለስ ጥያቄ ነው። የምን “ባይኖር ኖሮ ነው” የሚል አስተያየት ካለዎትም እናከብራለን።)