A three-judge Ethiopian Federal court Panel has again delayed the verdict in the case of 24 people charged with terrorism including opposition leader Andualem Arage, prominent journalist Eskinder Nega and other oppositions members.
The verdict is now expected to be delivered on June 27; in order to give time to pass a decision says the court’s decision read by Judge Hussien Yemer.
According to our reporter the court room was fully packed with family members, journalists and diplomats including US ambassador Donald Booth. People were seen pushing each other to enter the court room while many other observers were forced to stay outside the court room due to space constraints. Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage were both in court impeccably dressed. As they enter the court room they smiled and waved to friends and families present to show support. Our reporter said they look in good spirit.
There was a heave security presence in and around the court. The accused were brought to court in windowless Van hand cuffed in pairs.
A prominent legal scholar our reporter has talked to said it is unlikely anything new will eventuate on the verdict while the charges leveled and the process followed so far is clearly political.
The 24 on trial were charged with terrorism in September 2011 shortly after the Arab-Spring. Many observers insist that labeling journalists and the political opposition as terrorists a will not prevent Arab-spring type uprising from happening in Ethiopia. There are signs of resistance al around the country to instigate the Arab spring styled revolution. The ever alarm government of Meles Zenawi is imprisoning youth whom they thought are activists. Just a week ago the government hauled five active youth from North Gondar and one politically active individual from West Gojam to Addis Ababa prison.
Right groups accuse the Ethiopian government of exploiting the vaguely worded anti-terror law to crush peaceful descents.
There was demonstrable anger among the youth present at the court to show support to the accused.