Ethiopia: Merera Gudina’s case continues to drag on, court adjourns till October

ESAT News (August 2, 2017)

Merera Gudina, a prominent opposition to the TPLF regime, will stay in prison as the court handling his case will recess till October. His request for the court to be given the list of names of witnesses presented by prosecutors has sparked a constitutional interpretation argument between him and the court, which sent the issue to the country’s House of the Federation, a body entrusted with the interpretations of the law of the land, among others.

Dr. Gudina has been in jail for 9 months now after he was arrested in December 2016 upon his return from Europe where he testified at the European Parliament against human rights abuses by the Ethiopian regime.

Authorities accuse that Gudina has trespassed the state of emergency by parading at the European Parliament with other opposition figures abroad whom the regime deemed are its sworn enemies.

A photo of him, purported to be handcuffed at Tuesday’s court appearance, that went viral on the Ethiopian social media, has ignited anger with some commenting that Gudina is a peaceful citizen that does not deserve such treatment. Others, quoting witnesses, say Gudina was not handcuffed.

Prosecutors, citing the anti-terror proclamation, say they are not obliged to give the list of their witnesses to the defendant. The court on Tuesday said Gudina’s request to be given the list of witnesses presented by the prosecutor is sent to the House of the Federation to see if the constitution allow disclosure of names of witnesses.
The Center for the Advancement of Human Rights in Ethiopia has taken the case to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to challenge the Ethiopian regime and expose the widespread human rights abuses.