Ethiopia: Federal Court Discontinues Witness Testimony of Former House Speaker Against Former Senior TPLF Members

Addis Abeba — The Federal first instance court, Arada Bench, 1st appointment bench began prosecutors witness hearing against the 42 defendants in Abreha Tekeste's file in closed sessions. At the hearing on May 21, 2021 the Federal first instance court, Arada Bench, 1st appointment bench rejected the defendants' demand for a constitutional inquiry council to look into the application of some proclamations regarding the conduct of witness hearing and sustained its decision to hold the hearings behind closed doors as of May 25, 2021. The defendants appeal at the Federal Supreme Court Cassation Bench to repeal the decision was also rejected at the hearing on May 24, 2021.

According to the defense team, the first prosecutor witness, former speaker of Ethiopian's House of Federation and TPLF central committee member Keriya Ibrahim was arraigned in court to give her testimony. She refused to testify against the defendants in the file which includes veteran TPLF officials Sebhat Nega, Ambassador Abay Woldu and Kidusan Nega.

Keriya was set to give her testimony over the course of three days, according to the defense team, who told Addis Standard that the court cancelled the witness hearing and gave an alternative appointment to June 1, 2021.

At an earlier hearing, the defense team said that Keriya was detained for 40 days without appearing in a court of law after she reportedly "surrendered to the government." in December last year. The police claimed they have secured ten witnesses to testify against Keriya on her alleged involvement in crimes associated with TPLF leadership by consulting and giving orders of implementations. Later in March, at the Federal First Instance Court, Arada Division, pre-trial appointment hearing bench the Federal Police told a federal court that Keriya was already released from detention. AS

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