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Ethiopia – High Drama in TPLF Court

Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (Kinijit)

Voice Mail/Fax 1-206-203-3974

Press Release


December 17, 2006 —The show trial that has been poorly orchestrated by the regime of Meles Zenawi to bring
criminal charges against the CUDP (Kinijit) Leaders by parading false witnesses, producing
doctored videos etc.. in full view of international observers for well over a year, has become an
embarrassing fiasco for EPRDF. CUDP has vehemently condemned the illegal incarceration
and trial of its leaders in Kaliti Prison, (Ethiopia’s Robben Island) on fabricated charges of
treason and genocide. The sham trial has exposed the regime’s dictatorial nature as well as its
attempt to criminalize all types of political dissent. The incompetent prosecutor who has time
and again lost credibility in prosecuting this case against the prisoners of conscience in Kailiti
jail is now focused on bringing false witnesses to testify against individuals who have been
charged in absentia with “treason and genocide.”

During the last court hearing witnesses claiming to be former members of the Ethiopian People
Patriotic Front (EPPF) have been brought to falsely testify that Ato Andargachew Tsige and
Ato Berhane Mewa, senior officers of the Kinijit International Leadership, had met with EPPF
leaders and fighters in Asmara, Eritrea and encouraged them “to continue their armed struggle
and promised them that Kinijit will provide the financial and moral support that they need.” It
is pretty obvious that the shameful prosecutor, in the lamest way possible, is trying to link
Kinijit with armed opposition groups, as well as link the Leaders in Kaliti through their
representatives outside of Ethiopia, Ato Berhane and Ato Andargachew, for allegedly
conspiring with a foreign power (Eritrea) to bolster its treason charges against Hailu Shawel et
al. The fact of the matter remains that neither Ato Berhane, who does not even have travel
documents to travel outside the US, nor Ato Andargachew, who fled Ethiopia in 2005 after his
brutal incarceration at Ziway prison have set foot in Africa let alone pay a visit to EPPF
members in Asmara. It is sheer inanity for the prosecutor to engage in such a stupendous lie
when the whereabouts of these two individuals can easily be verified by checking their travel
documents. It is pure folly as well for the prosecutor to engage in such a desperate act in an
attempt to cover up the case that is unravelling before his eyes.

For many observers who have been following this case closely, it is obvious that the regime of
Meles Zenawi now finds itself between a rock and a hard place and unable to extricate itself
from the intricate web of lies and deceit it has woven for itself by illegally detaining the CUDP
Leaders and bringing false charges against them. The high drama that the world has witnessed
in the long and drawn out court proceedings, in effect, has made the TPLF the laughing stock
of the world and exposed its moral bankruptcy, just as the historic May 2005 election exposed
the dictatorial predilection of Meles Zenawi.

The Kinijt Leaders had called Meles’s bluff for free and fair elections, mobilized their
supporters and took part in the election and defeated EPRDF handsomely. It is high time that
Meles Zenawi realizes, in any fair play, there are winners and losers, and the only way out of
the Ethiopian election crisis is to find common ground with Kinijit Leaders through civil
political discourse and not the wholesale incarceration of political opponents. Despite their
immense personal sacrifice and inhuman treatment at the hands of the brutal regime in power,
Kinijit and its Leaders remain fully committed to peaceful and democratic change in Ethiopia
where the rule of law will always reign supreme.

Ethiopians at home and in the diaspora have always known and believed, as most of the
supporters of Meles Zenawi in the West have come to believe now, that the only crime of the
CUDP leaders was to play by the rules of the game, play it brilliantly and beat the master at his
own game.

The way forward for Ethiopia is for Zenawi to release immediately and unconditionally the
elected Leaders of the CUDP and waste no more time in the kangaroo court by parading a bevy
of false witnesses. Let EPRDF stop the charade! Let it stop holding an entire nation hostage!
Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP- Kinijit)

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