In a remarkable precedent in Ethiopian legal history, the court in charge of the treason trial of CUD leaders, independent journalists and civil society members ruled today that Andargachew Tsgie, Mesfin Aman and Elias Kifle are guilty of outrage against the constitutional order even before they are given a chance to defend their case. Although both of them are tried in absentia, they still have a constitutional right to defend their case.
The court either dropped or dismissed the case against other defendants who are tried in diaspora including Tamagne Beyene, Negede Gobeze, Abreha Belai and Brehane Mewa.
Civil society leaders Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie were also ordered to defend their case. Kassahun Kebede, however, was set free.
Ethiopia’s greatest civil rights advocate Professor Mesfin Woldemariam was also ordered to defend the charge of outrage against the constitutional order. The court reasoned that eventhough as a non-member of the CUD council he didn’t have collective responsiblity, professor Mesfin had made speeches advocating the dismantling of the constitutional order and institutions.
The Kangaroo trial continues Monday.