Ethiopia: Oromo Activist, 23 Others Face Terrorism Charges

The late Haacaaluu Hundeessa’s music has given sound and voice to the Oromo struggle.
20 September 2020

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia has filed terrorism charges against 24 individuals including Jawar Mohammed, a prominent Oromo opposition figure known for his open and strong criticism against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

This was announced Saturday by the office of the attorney-general in a post on its official Facebook page.

Besides terrorism charges, the 24 are accused of telecom fraud, inciting ethnic clashes and other criminal activities connected to a deadly unrest that rocked the capital Addis Ababa and parts of the Oromia region in July.

They will also be charged with attempting to violently overthrow the government.

A week-long violence that erupted on 1 July following the murder of a popular Oromo musician Hachalu Hundessa has led to the deaths of some 200 people including a number of policemen.

According to the statement by the attorney-general's office, the 24 will appear in court on Monday.

Not aware of charges

One of Mr Mohammed's lawyers Abduletif Amee said he was not aware of the charges announced Saturday until the Nation contacted him for reaction.

"No specific charges were produced against Mr Mohammed until now. The time given for the public prosecutor to file charges had expired on September 18, 2020," he said.

Mr Abduletif further said that Mr Mohammed's team of lawyers is prepared to confront the federal court on Monday to bail him out.

The Oromo are the largest ethnic group in the country, comprising over 35 per cent of Ethiopia's of 110 million residents.

Mr Mohammed is known for helping the current Ethiopian prime minister to get to power in 2018. But the two have turned out to be bitter opponents.

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