Four Missing Oromo FCO Members, Co- Defendants Appear in Court this Morning – Addis Standard Magazine

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by Mahlet Fasil  (Addis Standard)
Twenty two defendants, including four missing senior members of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) have appeared at the Federal High Court 19th Criminal Bench this morning. The court adjourned the next hearing, which will be a defense hearing, until May 10th.
FederBekele-Gerbaal prosecutors have charged 22 members of the OFC on Friday April 22nd with several articles of Ethiopia’s infamous Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP). On the same day the court ordered the police to transfer all the 22 detainees from the notorious Ma’ekelawi, where they have been kept incommunicado for most of the last four months, to Qilinto, a prison cell south of the city’s outskirt under the administration of the Addis Abeba Prison Authority.
Following their transfer on Friday, however, news emerged that four of the 22: Bekele Gerba , first secretary general of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), OFC members Adisu Bulala, Gurmesa Ayano and Dejene Tafa, have disappeared after refusing to take “unknown pills” administered to them by prison authorities upon their arrival in Qilinto.
This morning, Bekele Gerba told the court that the four of them were “kept in an isolated, dark room for the last four day for refusing to take pills which we didn’t know about.”  Bekele also told the court they have been denied access to their family members and legal counsel. He then requested the court to arrange for public hearing as per their constitutional rights so that “journalists and family members can attend court hearings.” Dejene Tafa on his part said that he now fears for his safety and the safety of the 21 co-defendants.
All the 22 were arrested in connection with the recent #OromoProtestes that gripped the nation for the last five months. Unconfirmed reports put the number of people killed during the five month protests to more than 400, a figure the government disputes.
This morning a further 16 individuals, all from the Oromia regional state, and were detained at Ma’ekelawi were also brought to the same court. The court adjourned the hearing until this afternoon. It is expected that like the 22, the 16, under the file name of Tesema Regasa, will be charged with the ATP. According to lawyer Wondimu Ebbissa, who is representing the 22 defendants, so far 83 defendants, including Bekele Gerba et al, are held in Qilinto and a further 97 are believed to be either at Ma’ekelawi or the Addis Abeba police prison facility near Ma’ekelawi.
Among the charges the prosecutors have brought on defendants include statements that the defendants have participated in the recent #OromoProtests against the implementation of the Addis Abeba Master Plan, the immediate cause for the widespread protests within the Oromia regional states, the largest of the nine regional states that constitute Ethiopia.
However, a month after protests have erupted, in a rare gesture of concession to public demand, both the federal government and the Oromia regional state have said they withdrew the plan, something the federal prosecutors seem to negate with some part of their charges that indicted defendants for participating in the protest.
Source: Addis Standard Magazine 

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  1. To simply advocate the killing of others, no matter what their perpetrated crime is shameful. Have we not killed each other enough? Can you tell me a time and day that Ethiopians are not getting killed at home and abroad?
    Here is a solution – consider your self as a global citizen, instead of breathing tribalism and narrow ethnicity cloud. That will clear you head. It is good news these brave Oromo FCO members are stil alive and appeared in court, even though they have done nothing to be detained and accused of terror. The Oromo elite living outside Ethiopia needs to reconsider their strategies to battle the narrow minded and ethno-centric TPLF. However, one thing is for sure, you can not fight a genuine fight for the rights of our people when your ideology is based on ethnic lines. In the end, killing others, working to create a country within a country brings to our suppressed people anguish and never-ending violence. Let us consider ourselves to be part of the greater picture and snap out of the no solution, always fight and kill political quagmire.

  2. It is a very sad news and story that I hoped I should never hear. This gentleman Obbo Bekele Gerba has the qualities of being a very smart person and I never got an impression that is a violent individual at least from the interview he gave on PBS(NPR). What people are telling me now that when he was here in the USA last year so many people have contacted him and discussed various issues. Some of those were from those groups who have been hell bent on violence and currently scavenging at the dump sites in Asmara. All those contacts and discussions were being closely followed by the regime’s agents embedded in those organizations. This meek and gullible son of ours was taken for a long ride when he was here. We should all never forget the fact that leaders of these so called ‘national liberation fronts’ were once most favored cadres of the demonic Mengistu regime in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. They were having field days on everyone who they thought was anti-Mengistu’s socialist revolution. They worked for him as snitches and advisers. So their double crossing and blackmailing skills go back a long way. They now sit here in their comfy homes and incite gullible individuals like this family man and young people who have not yet known any better. Now they are all in jails well built by their own Oromo compatriots. Now the entire Oromia is silent. You can hear a pin drop. This is not the 1st time this happens. Those with a burning ambition to one day carve out a territory they will call it their own have incited my proud Oromos to reckless violent confrontation just to end up on the badly bloodied and losing side. Didn’t these same leaders and their lambasting cadres abandoned more than 20,000 armed members to waiting voracious wolves and cut and ran to their Minnesota and European safe havens? Didn’t they? Now my relatives back home are telling me that the regime has a full account of this family man’s itinerary when he was here in the USA. We still hear them berating ‘Ethiopia out of Oromia’. They are aroused fit to rip harmonious people apart in a very violent way having field days on everyone standing in their way. They are dreaming for that day when they will be able to settle ‘old’ scores on everyone they are now saying had done the Oromo people wrong during the last 150 years. They are hallucinating for the day they think will come in their favor when they will let loose their brain washed foot soldiers steeped with unimaginable hatred toward others so strong that will make Idi Amin a smitten. They have done that in the 1990’s and they will do it again if they ever have the chance again. And they will blame it on the victims or may be on the Bloods and Crips from LA, the long gone their idol Che Guevara! Now this family man is going to waste away in those unkempt prisons for a long time to come. And there will be nothing that can be done to stop this from happening because he is being prosecuted by officials from his own Oromo community.

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