22 February 2014

Ethiopia: Court Slams FEACC for Intel Chief Charge Farce

The former intel chief at the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Woldeselassie Woldemicheal, is awaiting improved charges against him and his siblings as brought by the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC).

The Lideta Federal High Court 15th criminal bench presided over the case on Thursday February 20 to see if the charges had been improved. Prosecutors for the FEACC stated that they had left the charge information on the table in their office, asking if they could present them in the afternoon. The court ordered the prosecutor to attach the improved charges to the file after seeing the registrar, and warned them that forgetting was not a good reason, as they represent the government and the people of Ethiopia, and that its negligence should never be repeated.

At the same time Terhas Woldemichael, sister of Woldeselassie, brought an allegation against the prison administration, saying that her right to phone her husband in Italy was denied, and her right for her husband to visit her was also denied as he is a foreigner.

The prison administration officer, superintendent Lete Gebregziabher Gebremedehen, was present at the request, and explained that the prison has its own process to ensure that any foreign visitors should have a letter from the foreign minister's office, to confirm they have entered the country legally and are a legitimate relative of the suspect in custody. He said that all this was explained to the prisoner.

After hearing both arguments the court allowed the suspect, Terhas Woldemichael, to speak to her husband inside the court room until the letter from the foreign minister is presented. The process was requested to be accelerated as the husband is returning to Italy on Friday. On that note the court adjourned the case until March 3.

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