Kedir Bullo, lawyer for Ethiopian born U.S. citizen Misha Adem Chiri, told Addis Standard that his client failed to appear at a hearing adjourned for today because he was rearrested by Oromia regional state police after being released on 20, 000 bail from federal police detention facility.
Kedir said Misha's family and his defense team are unaware of Misha's whereabouts as of the publishing of this news. He was released yesterday from Addis Abeba primary school, currently serving as a detention facility, after his family submitted the bail money and all paper works were finalized. However, Misha was immediately arrested by members of Oromia regional state police up on his release.
On September 02 federal prosecutors charged Misha with criminal charges of violating the country;s anti-telecom fraud proclamation No. 761/204 Article 9/1. The charges were filed at the Federal high Court Lideta Branch 20th criminal bench in the absence of Misha and his defense team.
The criminal charges were filed despite Misha was granted a 10, 000 birr bail by the Federal First Instance Court Arada Branch along with Dejene Tafa of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), OMN journalist Guyo Wario and businessman Korssa Dechassa. However the police appealed the decision at the Federal high Court. Although the Federal High Court upheld the lower courts decision for bail, the police have continued remanding and investigating Misha leading up to the charges on September 02.
Today's hearing was adjourned to pass verdict on prosecutor's demand for witnesses to be give their statements behind closed curtains. However, Misha was not brought to the court by the Oromia police who have the defendant in their custody, Kedir said.
The presiding judge has requested an explanation from the representatives of the federal police on whether the defendant was released as per the court's decision and on whether he was formally transferred to the Oromia police. the judges have also issued similar request to Oromia police and ordered the federal prosecutors to help search the whereabouts of Misha, according to Kedir.
Misha is rearrested despite the court's second time ruling to uphold its decision to release him on bail. The presiding judge has reprimanded the police on their violation of the court's ruling and demanded the police to disclose the whereabouts of Misha.
Accordingly, the hearing was adjourned until September 21 to get the response from both the federal and Oromia region police, according to Kedir.
Misha Adem, who returned to Ethiopia and was volunteering as IT assistant at Oromia Media Network, was one the more than 30 people arrested alongwith Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba after the June 29 assassination of Oromo artist and activist Hachalu Hundessa. AS