Ethiopia: Suspects of Corruption Probe, Alleged Human Rights Abuse Appear Before a Judge As Late As 9pm

A street in Assela, in the Arsi Zone of the Oromia Regional State.

A Court has denied 64 suspects the right to bail when federal police brought them before a federal judge at the 10th Criminal Bench of Lideta Division, as late as 9:00pm today.

Among the suspects are 28 employees of the state owned military-industrial complex, Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC), including its deputy CEO, Tena Kurunde (B. Gen).

The remaining are from the Federal Police, national security and intelligence agency and prison administration. All but two of the suspects have appeared before the court, after they were arrested late last week. One of the suspects, Mulu Woldegebriel (Col.), was arrested near Awash town, according to police. The two suspects - Chernet Adane and Gebremedhin Gebresellasie (Let. Gen) - remain at large, says police.

Adanech Tessema, a spouse of Yared Zerihun, former deputy head of national intelligence, is among the suspects brought before the judge, accused of an attempt in helping her husband flee, according to police statement to the court.

Many of the suspects wore sport suits and appeared tired. They were made to wait outside the court room for two hours until the Judge presides over the case began the session. A suspect working for MetEC was seen crying while another suspect serving the Federal Police Commission brought along an infant.

Suspects told the Judge that they were arrested without a court warrant after called on for a meeting.

Federal investigators who alleged misuse of office, conducting procurement without following the rules and causing damage to public interest, were granted by the court the right of custody for 14 days, the time they have appealed for.

The alleged misuse and embezzlement were conducted with state mega projects such as the GERD, Yayu Fertiliser Project and a procurement of a vessel from the state owned shipping company, according to police sources.

Nonetheless, heads of the two agencies where many of the suspects have been working for were not included among the suspects brought before court today.

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