Jawar and the other defendants Appear in Court on Terror Charges

By Simon Marks

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian opposition leader Jawar Mohammed and 22 others appeared in court Monday to face charges of terrorism and other crimes. Jawar, a media mogul and outspoken critic of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, was arrested in June following the killing of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa, a champion of the Oromo ethnic group. Political analysts say the charges are likely to raise tensions in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous region.

In November last year, Jawar — who runs a television channel, the Oromia Media Network — met with Prime Minister Abiy in hopes of convincing him to revise his nationalist agenda and favor more political autonomy for Ethiopia’s diverse collection of regions, including Oromia.

But the two men’s relationship fell apart and Jawar joined the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC).  He began campaigning against the government inside packed sport stadiums.

Then in late June, after the death of Hachalu Hundessa, Jawar and some of his loyalists joined the body en route to the singer’s hometown, Ambo.

Read Aloud:   Ethiopia sentences 2 accused al-Shabab members to prison
In this image taken from OBN video, the coffin carrying Ethiopia singer Hachalu Hundessa is lowered into the ground during the…
FILE – In this image taken from OBN video, the coffin carrying Ethiopia singer Hachalu Hundessa is lowered into the ground during the funeral in Ambo, Ethiopia, July 2, 2020.

Someone — it is unclear who — decided to hold a ceremony for the body in Addis Ababa. When a standoff between federal security officials and Jawar’s supporters ensued, a police officer was shot dead and Jawar later arrested.

Authorities have now charged Jawar with inciting ethnic violence through his television channel and speeches. He’s also charged with telecommunications fraud and terrorism.

The charges could prevent Jawar from running in Ethiopia’s upcoming but still unscheduled elections.

William Davison, a senior analyst for International Crisis Group, says Jawar’s potential absence could undermine the polls.

“Unless prosecutors provide convincing evidence that the Oromo opposition leaders are guilty of these grave charges, then, if they are convicted, there will be a widespread public perception, especially in Oromia, that the Ethiopian government is once again engaging in politicized prosecutions. This will make it very difficult for the authorities to run a successful election next year that is considered fair by all major actors and constituencies, and so the vote will not be the landmark democratic moment that was hoped for,”  he said.

Read Aloud:   ESAT Daily News 22, 2013

Among those who appeared in court on Monday was Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the OFC, who has also been charged with inciting violence and terrorism.

His son Samuel Bekele told VOA that after attending several pre-trial court sessions he is convinced his father’s case has been politicized.

“We expected them to come up with something a bit believable. But they just pulled the old trick,” he said. “They recycled the old trick and they accused them of terrorism, telecommunication fraud and other things. It is aimed to eliminate the formidable political opponents of Abiy Ahmed.  I don’t think they’re going to convict them if they follow the rule of law.”

Prime Minister Abiy said last week that Ethiopia is fully committed to its democratic transition which he began in March 2018. Writing in the Economist magazine, he reaffirmed the importance of a free press, a vibrant civil society, an independent judiciary and an open political space.

Read Aloud:   The cities with the worst quality of life in the world

But he also stated that certain individuals and groups in Ethiopia “are harvesting the seeds of inter-ethnic and inter-religious division and hatred.”

Jawar’s lawyer, Kedir Bulo said Monday that both Jawar and Bekele were merely expressing their rights by giving a voice to millions belonging to the Oromo ethnic group.

“What Jawar and others have been doing for the past two years [is] challenging through the legal channels. That means, they were organizing their people so their interests [are] secured in the legal way,”  said Bulo.

Jawar and the other defendants are scheduled to appear back in court on Thursday.

VOA

4 Comments

  1. All I hear about the charges is hearsay. I heard that the charges are more than 15 pages long. I would appreciate if copies of the charges are posted here for all of us to see. From what I heard so far one of the charges is quite serious and enraging. I was told that one of the defendants is charged with recruiting young people and sending them to Egypt for military training to liberate me and my Oromos from the ‘N’ people by violent means. I am not surprised but I am livid. I am told that the evidence on this alleged crime(treason) against the defendant is overwhelming because there are some who regretted and decided to alert the government, They have spilled the beans. Colluding with Egypt to carry out terrorism? What is a crime worse than that? But I still am not passing judgment until the details come out during the trial. Recruiting and sending young people to Egypt for military training? My blood is boiling here!!!

  2. Subject: “Jawar and the other defendants Appear in Court on Terror Charges” by By Simon Marks, ZeHabesha, September 21, 2020.

    Commentary, 22 Sept 2020
    I am not an OROMO but I am writing on belhalf of MY VERY BEST FRIEND ON EARTH and myself.
    MY FRIEND is in Heaven. But his SPIRIT will take this message. .

    My message will try its best to represent my narration and keep my ANGER to the lowest level as a respect for http://www.zehabesha.com who are providing us with a free platform for us to express our opinions and even frustration and anger. So here I go:

    In my humble opinion, the OROMO PEOPLE were not given their fair share of “ETHIOPIAN-NESS”. Instead, we have witnessed a society adopting non-Oromo names and facing all sorts of offensive treatments and images way below the equality line of citizenship. The Oromo people — the KINDEST and CONSIDERATE PEOPLE — were never given the proper share of DIGNITY. It is my honest opinion. A lot could be said but in light of the ESSENTIAL and NOBLE intention for the overall of ETHIOPIAN-NESS, with rich history and ultimate objective of fraternity — regardless of RACE and RELIGION — the serenity of a society must be maintained, at all times.

    NOW, a line or two is in order with respect to the case of “ Jawar and the other defendants Appear[ing] in Court on Terror Charges “. Needless to say, the proper civilized court procedures and verdicts are expected from Court of Law for — primarily — the satisfaction of the ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE. And the positive reaction of civilized countries is a bones. On the other hand, those who are hatching negative images and outcome for their own diabolical desire should be left to wander in the Sahara desert and equivalent environment. Ethiopia must maintain its Ancient Historical Image as one of the PROUD BLACK AFRICAN COUNTRIES . In the face of discriminatory character, based on the COLOUR of the SKIN, it is essential that AFRICA — BLACK AFRICA — raises its HEAD way above the level of sociological gutter of others.
    THE END

  3. The superpower wannabe megalomaniac in Al-Qahirah seems to be getting his own medicine. The junta’s alpha male there is having nationwide protests exploding in his face. The economy there was going south way before the pandemic arrived and now it has gone so bad that the average citizen is running out of any possible option to make ends meet. As the old adage goes: The man living in a glass house should be wise enough not to cast the first stone at others. I am enjoying the show being serenaded by Miles Davis, Jimi, Dexter Gordon(Hit me with that extended ‘Tanya’) followed by ‘Tangerine’ and topping it off with ice on the cake, off course my/our own Ali Birra. The balcony is closing on you bigots and republic day dreamers!!! Get off my face!!! You make me/everybody sick!!!!!

  4. Subject: “Jawar and the other defendants Appear in Court on Terror Charges” by By Simon Marks, ZeHabesha, September 21, 2020.

    Commentary, 22 Sept 2020
    I am not an OROMO but I am writing on belhalf of MY VERY BEST FRIEND ON EARTH and myself.
    MY FRIEND is in Heaven. But his SPIRIT will take this message.
    .
    My message will try its best to represent my narration and keep my ANGER to the lowest level as a respect for https://zehabesha.com who are providing us with a free platform for us to express our opinions and even frustration and anger. So here I go:
    In my humble opinion, the OROMO PEOPLE were not given their fair share of “ETHIOPIAN-NESS”. Instead, we have witnessed a society adopting non-Oromo names and facing all sorts of offensive treatments and images way below the equality line of citizenship. The Oromo people — the KINDEST and CONSIDERATE PEOPLE — were never given the proper share of DIGNITY. It is my honest opinion. A lot could be said but in light of the ESSENTIAL and NOBLE intention for the overall of ETHIOPIAN-NESS, with rich history and ultimate objective of fraternity — regardless of RACE and RELIGION — the serenity of a society must be maintained, at all times.

    NOW, a line or two is in order with respect to the case of “ Jawar and the other defendants Appear[ing] in Court on Terror Charges “. Needless to say, the proper civilized court procedures and verdicts are expected from Court of Law for — primarily — the satisfaction of the ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE. And the positive reaction of civilized countries is a bones. On the other hand, those who are hatching negative images and outcome for their own diabolical desire should be left to wander in the Sahara desert and equivalent environment. Ethiopia must maintain its Ancient Historical Image as one of the PROUD BLACK AFRICAN COUNTRIES . In the face of discriminatory character, based on the COLOUR of the SKIN, it is essential that AFRICA — BLACK AFRICA — raises its HEAD way above the level of sociological gutter of others.
    THE END

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

four + 5 =