Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Remembering Addis massacre Day
Sene 1 is a week away. It was on Sene 1 last year that 42 people were murdered by EPRDF's Agazi forces. That day changed my life too. It was the day that forced me to abandon the benefit of doubt I used to give for EPRDF. It was this day that woke me, a lethargic civil servant, to dedicate my life to the pro-democracy movement. There may be democratic and nationalistic elements in EPRDF. Yet as a party, Sene 1(as plenty of dates afterwards) was a testament to the fact that the party lacked a cause for its existence and a purpose for the nation. EPRDF killed almost the same number of people in riots four years ago. What made Sene 1 different were the manner of the killing and the profile of the dead. Young and old who were bread winners for their family were shot on their head and throat by well-trained snipers. Unlike the riot four years ago, there was no looting, no destruction of property on Sene 1. The protestors were armed with a single question; and their focus was the government, not banks and shops.
In the next seven days, I will remember the fallen heroes of Addis Ababa. I will write the profile of some of the dead and the tragic stories of that day. One year after Sene 1, "how are the families coping with the loss of loved ones?" I ask.
If you have stories on Sene 1, please e-mail me.

Don't forget to go through Kinetibeb which introduces you with some brilliant writers and artists.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Free Mulunesh Abebayehu
Mulunesh Abebayehu, a school teacher by profession, was one of the elected council members for Addis. She has been in custody since november last year. Her story is very sad. She was arrested on Tikimit 30 while she was in a meeting at the school where she teaches. She was taken to Gulele Police station. While at the police station she was on a hunger strike; and due to that they transfered her to Makelawi after three days. On Hidar 5, she was made to appear before a municipal court ( near Philips building in Mexico Square) where police alleged that her crimes were defaming the former speaker Dawit yohanes of contracting HIV Aids ( Dawit Yohanes HIV yizotal Bilalehc) and uttering "Tiglu Yiketlal"(The struggle will continue). The remand court judge was amazed by the alleged ludicrous crimes. He asked the investigating police officer why he was asking for remand if these were the alleged crimes and told the police that if he alleged that this were what she had committed, there was no need for further investigation. The police who realized that the court was not cooperating transfered Mulunesh during the night to Ziway.
In ziway, she was again accused of another fabricated story and appeared Before Admitulu court where she was told her crime was throwing stones and burning tyres on the streets. She continued langushing in Ziway.

Her family brought a case against the Federal Police , Prison Authorities of Makelawi and the investigating police in Ziway before the sixth criminal bench of the Federal court requesting for accountability and to stop the arbitrary arrest of Mulunesh.

The family was assisted by Lawyer Birhane Mogese representing her to bring this case. He himself was arrested just the next day after he brought this case . The family asked the court why she was detained with ourt charge for so long. The police appeared and responded to the charge saying that they would transfer her to Addis and they were waiting for a prosecutor's response.

The police further argued that her case was being heard by the court in Ziway and; therefore, the case should be closed. The court dismissed the case in favor of the police . The family again brought an appeal protesting the decision. The appellate court last Thursday dismissed the case and upheld the decision of the lower court.

She is now in Kaliti with Birtukan et al. No charges have been brought against her until today.
No charges have been brought against her. She has started a hunger strike today(at Kaliti prison). This blogger has obtained her hand written letter. Let's call her foor her release loudly and with vigour. It is people like Mulunesh who mobilized the grass root during the may election. They may be low profile. Yet they have contributed as good as the leaders of Kinijit.

ሙሉነሽ አበባው የቅንጅት የአዲስ አበባ ተመራጭ ናቸው፡፡ በጥቅምት ወር በታጣቂ ኃይሎች በቁጥጥር ሥር ከዋሉ ጀምሮ ክስ ሳይመሰረትባቸው እስከአሁን ድረስ በእስር ላይ ይገኛሉ፡፡ ይህንንም በመቃወም ከዛሬ ጀምሮ የረሀብ አድማ ለማድረግ ወስነዋል፡፡ ጉዳያቸውን የሚገልጽ ደብዳቤያቸው ከእስር ቤት ወጥቷል፡፡ ለዚህ ብሎገርም ደርሶታል፡፡ ወ/ሮ ሙሉነሽ በደብዳቤያቸው ያሰራቸው አካል እንዲከሳቸው አሊያም በነፃ እንዲለቃቸው ይጠይቃሉ፡፡ ደብዳቤውን ይመልከቱ፡፡
Don't forget to read kinetibeb blog
From May to May
Ethiopia leads the world in muzzling free speech
In the past year, the magnitude of assault on free speech by the Ethiopian government has no match anywhere in the world. The following chronology testifies to the great hypocisy of some western politicians and diplomats who claim that Ethiopia is on the path towards democracy.

August, 2005

Editor of Asqual, Addis Zena and Ethiop were detained and interrogated by Federal Police

October 24, 2005

VOA reporter Meleskachew Ameha was severely beaten by government's plain clothed security personnel
October 26, 2005

Kifle Mulat, Chairman of Ethiopian Free Journalists Association, was called for questioning by the federal police

October 29, 2005

Ten Journalists were briefly detained after attending a press conference at CUDP's headquarters near Bole Medhanialem

October 30, 2005
Editor of Meznagna newspaper, Abiy Teklemariam, was detained and interrogated by the Federal Police

November 1, 2005

The offices of Menelik, Ethiop, Addis Zena , Netsanet, Hadar were surrounded by troops. The Editors of the first four newspapers escaped. The personal properties of the editors and the organizations' properties were seized. Hadar's Editor-in-Chief, Dawit kebede and Deputy-Editor-in-Chief, Feleke Tibebu, were arrested.

November 2, 2005

120,000 copies of Ethiop newspaper was seized by troops before it was circulated.
November 5, 2005: The government posted a wanted list of sixteen journalists.

November 9-14, 2005

The following journalists reported to the police after the wanted list was published. They were arrested immediately.
Zekarias Tesfaye, manager and owner of Netsanet Dereje Habtewolde, editor-in-chief of Netsanet Fassil Yenealem, manager and owner of Addis Zena Wosonseged Gebrekidan, editor-in-chief of Addis Zena
Andualem Ayle, editor-in-chief of Ethiop Nardos Meaza, editor-in-chief of Satanaw Mesfin Tesfaye, editor-in-chief of Abay Wenakseged Zeleke, editor-in-chief of Asqual

November 17, 2005

The search for the other journalists continued. An Ethiopian airlines plane which was traveling to London was turned back after 40 minutes of flight. Security Forces thought the individual named Eskedar Nega who was on board the plane was journalist Eskinder Nega, the columnist on Menelik, Asqual and Satenaw newspapers

November 27, 2005

Eskinder Nega and his pregnant wife Serkalem Fassil were arrested in the place where they were in hiding for 25 days. Dawit fassil, the brother of serkalem and a journalist, was also caught at the same place.

November 29, 2005

Sisay Agena, the owner of Ethiop, was arrested at the house of a lawyer and journalist, Samuel Tasew. Samuel was also taken into custody for aiding and abetting a fugitive. Another Journalist, Melese Gesit was also arrested for cooperating with Sisay Agena.
All journalists arrested in november excepting Samuel Tasew and Melese Gesit, were charged with outrages against the constitution and constitutional order, genocide and Impairment of the defensive power of the state. the first charge was also brought against Four web based writers and five VOA journalists.

December 1-7, 2006

Tomar, Tikusat, Moged, Meznagna, mechachal, Dagim wonchif and Seife Nebelbal newspaper were systematically prohibited from publishing. Printing houses were warned not to publish these papers by the Information Ministry
January 21, 2006

AP and IRIN correspondent Antony Michell was expelled from Ethiopia

January 27, 2006

Ethiopian review reporter Frezer Negash was arrested.

February 19, 2006

Goshu Moges, publisher of Lisane Hisb was arrested and charged with terrorism.

March 8, 2006

Abraham Gebrekidan, former editor of now-defunct Amharic-language weekly Politika was arrested. He was sentenced to a one year imprisonment for spreading false information
April 25, 2006

Abraham Reta Alemu, former editor of defunct Amharic-language weekly Ruh and a columnist at Addis Admas was sentenced to a year imprisonment for defamation
......... Tesehalene Mengesha, former deputy editor at defunct Amharic-language Mebruk was sentenced to a one year imprisonment for defamation

May 15-26, 2006

Thirty two blogs and eight websites were blocked from accessing in Ethiopia.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

And Finally...
Ethiomedia is the latest website to be blocked. There is no pretension now. Almost all pro-democracy sites are shut down. yesterday was a turn for
Addis Ababa's mayor
The mild-mannered mayor of Addis Ababa, as you may guess, is not that popular in the city. The only person who is their mayor for Addis Ababans is the great Birhanu Nega who received New school for social Research distinguished Alumunus Award this week. His name sake, however, must have no clue about the feeling of the city dwellers. On Thursday he went to a school inaguration ceremony at Lafto Kifle Ketema without security guards. His reception was hot, to say the least. Some of the residents of the kifle ketema who were at the ceremony booed him and showed their lack of recognition for him. Birhanu deressa left in a hurry before the ceremony ended.
The clashes of "Gemb" Market
Gemb market is a run-down market place near the "Awtobus Tera" in Nazret. Yesterday, the federal police went to evict the residents and traders at the place. The place was sold to property developers. The residents refused to leave the place which resulted in confrontation with the feds.The confrontation led to a small battle. The feds. as usual have no mercy; gunning down many people. Nazret was today sad.
PS: Yesterday I announced that I will start mass e-mail service for those who want to get hot news and info. Some have wrote to me that I shouldn't involve in business. I reply that they were reading what was not written. the e-mail service is for free. Due to the slow internet connection, it is difficult to access blogger and post news and information quickly. That is why the mass mail service is proposed. No fee! Just formard you e-mail address to me.
Yardalij and Kinetibeb blogs will start on Monday. It will no mimi sebehatu type crap "zegeba"

Friday, May 26, 2006

New blogs, network blogging and mass e-mail service
When I started blogging on seminawork, my intention was to deal with matters relating to ethiopian politics, culture, life and arts. I have teamed up with two new bloggers, EthioLaureate and AddisTraveller to do that.On kinetibeb blog.EthioLaureate will introduce you with the works of up and coming Ethiopian novelists, writers and artists. I know ET Wonqette doesn't want to miss Beeweketu Siyoum's humour and wisdom. AddisTraveller is on Yaradalij wondering in our beloved capital like stray dog, observing the lives of Addis Ababans. You will read his conversations with sex workers, night taxi drivers, homosexuals... He will be visiting bars and night clubs of Addis. And more. I will continue delivering political news and information on this blog. Seminawork, yaradlij and kinetibeb will form a network of blogs. Welcome to Ethiopian Weblogs Inc.
We will also start sending breaking news and information (ours and ours only!) via e-mail to those who are interested in reading them before they are posted on our blogs. You can forward your e-mail to if you are interested to get this service.We will launch the new blogs and the e-mail service next Tuseday. Exciting time ahead.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Some friends who have connection with the diaspora told me today that there is some effort in North America kinijit chapters to reject the kinijit international leadership delegated by imprisoned leaders. I wish my information is false. If it is true, it is quite sad. In Ethiopia, people keep their allegiance to the incacerated leaders even when that is dangerous to them. Even prison security personnel here risk their lives and security to communicate the messages of the prisoners to the outside world.
I think the struggle is here at home; not in North America. Respecting the will of the leaders in prison should be our threshold. Those(if there are any) who are trying to derail the efforts of the leaders to delgate power should know the reality at home.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why Dagmawi's argument against ADF is muddled
Dagmawi has a take on ADF. I hate to disagree with him but I found some of his assertions pretty muddled.
1. Dagmawi says "The excitement and novelty of the May 15, 2005 election was the possibility of changing Ethiopia's government using peaceful means. Now the CUDP is allying itself with organizations that are engaged in an armed struggle that aims for the violent overthrow of the government."
The CUDP hasn't declared that it has changed its strategy of non-violence struggle. The alliance has nothing to do with the unity of strategies among the parties. Here is the alliance's objective and tasks as stated in the draft agreement(There might have been some minor changes. I got it a day before it was signed.)
The objective of the Alliance is to:
TO ENSURE liberty, peace, justice and the rule of law;
Promote peace in Ethiopia and the region, ensuring that the resulting peace dividend shall be enjoyed by all;
Lay the foundation for a fully democratic system in Ethiopia that meets the aspirations of all an address their grievances by instituting a genuinely representative political order
Ensure the supremacy of the rule of law by adapting the universal declaration of human rights and relevant United Nations covenants
Reaffirm respect for and commitment to the basic norms of international law and the principles enshrined in the charter of the United Nations
Achieve a new, just democratic Ethiopia where human and democratic rights are fully respected and
Genuinely and boldly address the serious issue in Ethiopia and amicably resolve the many intractable conflicts in the region thereby laying the foundations for lasting peace, democracy, stability and development

The Alliance shall:
Coordinate the activities of member organizations by mobilizing and galvanizing their constituencies in order to achieve freedom, lasting peace and democracy
Pool together the parties’ resources and talents in order to conduct an effective political and diplomatic campaign
Work together to promote brotherly relationship among all the people by mitigating and preventing all forms of inter-communal and inter-confessional discord
Uphold a culture of peaceful resolution of intrastate an interstate conflicts in the region and enhancing regional cooperation as a vehicle to create conditions for peace, stability, economic development and political integration
Promote harmony between the parties and their constituencies by overcoming the history of mistrust through dialogue, mutual understanding and respect
Advance the development of a democratic culture and institutions and actively promote the resolution of the border conflict with Eritrea BASED ON THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO BROTHERLY COUNTRIES
2. Dagmawi argues "The CUDP should have concentrated on forming an alliance with the Oromo groups operating peacefully within the country. Instead, with this disastrous move it is making itself far more vulnerable to the TPLF/EPRDF, it is damaging its credentials as a non-violent party, and it is allowing itself to be used as a tool by the Eritrean dictator. "
The CUDP is an outlawed political party in Ethiopia. The Oromo parties that joined parliament couldn't make lawful alliances with an illegal party. Furthermore, the leaders of CUDP at home are incarcerated and; therefore, unable to make any kind of legally binding act.
As to the Eritrean dictator, there is no provision in the alliance that has given him a role in AFD. The fact that OLF and ONLF operate there shouldn't automatically rule them out from participating in Ethiopia's politics.
3. Dagmawi argues "The OLF has started to lose ground due to the emergence of non-violent Oromo nationalist parties (such as the OFDM). This move will help the OLF regain initiative in the short-term."
There is no evidence that the OLF is losing its base support. The non-violent Oromo parties had their chance in the election and did relatively well. OLF didn't compete in the elections and; therefore, it is difficult to assert that it was starting to lose ground.
Yes, OLF isn't that successful in the armed struggle. Yet there are other factors for the failure of the armed struggle
Conclusion: Although the ideology and political strategy of OLF and ONLF are very different from CUDP, we should accept that they should have a say in Ethiopia's politics(CUDP winning an election or not). The way to make them milder and accept Ethiopian unity is not to isolate but embrace them. CUDP was ready to work with TPLF and proposed a national unity government even after TPLF killed people, destroyed our lives, sold out to Eritrea, denied the country access to the sea and endangered the life and unity of the nation. What more has OLF done ideologically and strategically to rule out just an alliance of democracy with it?
The Riot in Jijiga
Riot in jijiga caused serious properietary damage, according to seminawork sources. The trouble started when two Somali Ethiopians had a disagreement with a waiter at a very frequented hotel in the city. The clash then got a religious tone and spilled to the streets of the twon. Shops were destroyed and looted. The army which has camped around tried to intervene; beating pedestrians and clashing with young students. By the afternoon, order had returned.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Shutting down OLF's website - TPLF's response to ADF
When it comes to stupidity, there is no match to the TPLF regime. Yesterday an alliance for demcracy and freedom was formed by five Ethiopian opposition groups. So how did the government respond to the news? Well, it shut down the website of Oromo Liberation Front which could have been accessed until the announcement was made.
Now that the government has discovered how to block websites, it is adding more and more to its blockage business. Yesterday, Ethiomedia Forum was shut down. Then OLF. Too late for stifling free speech on the net! In some of the intenet cafes in Addis Ababa, owners have put some proxy server addresses in their favourites catalogue and some help their confused customers to access blocked sites. TPLF next move will surely be "fed" policing internet cafes.

Monday, May 22, 2006

What is the alliance for democracy
Last Friday, I wrote that there would be an earth quake in ethiopian politics in a few days. I had a day before learnt that OLF and Kinjit had agreed to form an alliance for democracy. That day invitation was extended to other groups and parties and I had to wait until the others also join the alliance to write about it. For me and some of my friends who were following the developments closely at home, the formation of the alliance between Kinijit and OLF was more than a pleasant surprise. It is a new chapter in Ethiopian politics.
At the current state of things, some ethiopians have two major worries.
-What will happen post-Meles? Can a transitional government be formed without the various political groupings having to go at each other?
-What is the role of OLF in such government? Will it press on for secession immediately?
I think the alliance with its undertakings is the begning of the answer for these two basic questions. OLF has now accepted that it is a majot political force in Ethiopia. Kinijit has accepted the necessity of working with OLF. Further, both are now looking beyond the current state of things in Ethiopia.
My contacts in the Ethiopian Army usually note that both OLF and Kinijit have massive support in the rank and file members of the army. The problem is there is a deep suspicion between the two groups. The success of the alliance will definitely have reverbrations in the army.
Kinijit and OLF still have a differnce in strategy(the former supporting peacful struggle while the other having an army). It is great that such and other ideological differences haven't forbidden them to join hands on things they can work together.
It is now the responsiblity of the new substitue kinijit leadership and the veteran OLF leaders to work hard and make the alliance a success. The Ethiopian people deserve it!
Breaking News: CUDP, OLF form alliance for democracy
The two biggest political parties in Ethiopia, Kinijit and OLF signed a memorandum of alliance for democracy. According to sources, the alliance was signed on Thursday. Other parties were invited to join the alliance after the two made the agreement. The discussions held in the Netherlands during the weekend was a result of the invitation.

More on details and reactions at home later

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Zagol contra Levin
Professor Donald Levin is back with his tiresome "shimagle" views - views that were, I suspect, shaped and influenced by his recent visit to Ethiopia. When the professor was in the country in January, he was usually surrounded by Amare Aregawi, Editor of The Reporter, Constantinos Berhe, brother-in-law of foreign Minster Siyoum Mesfin and Tamrat W.Giyorgis of Fortune. Tamrat escorted the professor to Kaliti when he met the prisoners. We all know the views of these three individuals. Yet it wasn't expected that the writer of "Wax and Gold" would be swayed by the opinion of a few ferenj chasing people.
Let me state the reasons for my suspicion that Donald Levin was influenced by these people.
- On the last article he wrote
On the other hand, to the detriment of that process, some winning opposition candidates cut their participation short. They refused to take the seats in Parliament to which they had been duly elected, despite the unanimous judgment of two public meetings in July with the most educated and mature elements in their constituency that they should do so.
If you followed the August-November editions of the reporter, you would see this same line of argument adumbrated almost in identical wordings. That the "educated and mature" Ethiopians asked the CUD to join parliament was a myth Amare tried to entrench in the minds of foreigners subtly.
In the two discussions that the professor mentioned, less than 40 people participated. Not all of them were that educated or supporters of CUD unlike the professor's unsubstantiated assertion. The case in point was Amare himself. He was neither a supporter of the CUD nor a well-educated individual. He was invited to the first meeting as he owned one of the influential newspapers in the country. There were people like Haile G.silassie and Fitawrari Amede in the first meeting. Invitations were extended to them as prominent personalities. Educated? CUD supporters? Who said...
The second meeting was attended by six private press journalists and some civil society members. The judgment of both sets of participants was, of course, different from the judgment thousands of Addis Ababa residents expressed in the meetings a week later. Here comes another myth.
Amare and co. tell to every ferenj who arrives in Ethiopia that these meetings were exclusively attended by unemployed youth. Fortunately, I was in one of them. With me were my engineer, economist and uni. lecturer friends. There were a lot of people; young and old, unemployed and rich, educated and uneducated. It was a reflection of the composition of the population. These were real supporters of CUD. Most of the participant's message was clear. NO PARLIAMENT! When EPRDF saw the outcomes of four meetings, it banned further meetings. In the meantime, Amare and co. sharpened up their "unemployed youth are leading CUD" propaganda. Constantinos Berhe was also parroting the same views at the office bar of Sheraton Addis.
If Donald Levin really wanted to know the views of the CUD constituency, he would have talked with ordinary guys; bankers, lawyers, unemployed youth, the elderly...
- Another quote
To be sure, some members of the European Observers Election group erred by rushing to judgment prematurely and otherwise acting in an unprofessional way, committing violations of their code of conduct which officers of the EU subsequently acknowledged. Those actions had significant adverse consequences for the aftermath of the election, for which I believe Ethiopian citizens have had to pay an enormous price.
This seems another copy of one of the editorials of The Reporter. ( See Reporter's editorial "Observing the Observers") And it is a white lie. Ana Gomez's preliminary report on the elections came out in mid august. That was three and half months after the voters cast their votes and two weeks after the election board announced the result of the election. If that is a rush, how will the good professor view Mr. Carter's "free and fair election" verdict made even before the ballots were opened.
-On the Nov. protests
They called for protest actions in November that led to the deaths of several civilians and policemen.
Another classic tactic of Amare Aregawi: projecting EPRDF's crime on CUD. In his editorials and other articles, he consistently argued that it wasn't the killer but CUD that should be blamed for the death of civilian protestors. It is a tactic designed to confuse people on two points.
Although Kinijit didn't call for street demonstrations, the assertion tacitly deceives people into believing that it has called for demonstrations.
Although the protestors were unarmed, the assertion deceives people into believing that the government shouldn't be blamed for the killings.
While he was in Addis Ababa, Donald Levin tried to broker an agreement between the prisoners and Meles. He even went to the extent of telling some people that Meles was ready to release them. He was later forced to eat his words. Trusting and counting on Meles Zenawi is a risky venture. He's yet to learn from his mistakes.
Now with his half-truths and misguided arguments, he is losing the confidence of many Ethiopians.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The next few days will bring a major earth quake to ethiopian politics. Watch this space.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Government Blocks Bloggers
Over the last two days, all blogspots blogs including have been blocked in Ethiopia. Those who seek political quips fron weichegud or intelligent analysis form other bloggers can't access the sites via the telecom servers. In addition, the government has blocked Ethiopian Review, cyber ethiopia, quatero and Free our leaders websites. My sources told me this is done by tel. with the advise and help of the chinese.This blog can't be accessed in Ethiopia so the following advise may not reach its intended readers. Other websites like Ethiomedia who hasn't yet been blocked should carry the message to Ethiopian readers.
Readers can use an open proxy like this which allow to circumvent the blocks. Readers should click on and enter the address that is blocked in the displayed box. Using the proxy we can access our beloved blogs and websites eventhough the government has censored them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Who Andargachew Tsgie is and why he matters
May be it is because he is a man of adamantine principle; or he knows their nature and behavior ever so well. Out of the six kinijit international leaders designated by the prisoners to fill the leadership void, Andargachew Tsgie is the most distasted by the TPLF.
The Londoner is not your normal Diaspora. He staked his life and liberty when he returned to Ethiopia before the election to help Kinijit's campaign. Meles Zenawi knew he was a solid gut in organization and watched him very closely. Andragachew helped set up youth groups in different corners of the city. T, a kinijit campaigner who had a chance to meet Andargachew, told me that some of the networks that still exist are the ones formed by him. "The guy is all grassroots stuff. Coming from London, you don't expect him to see things as we do here. But he is just different," T said.
More than anybody else in Kinijit's leadership, it was Andargachew who foresaw how EPRDF might react to an election defeat and advised for a different set up and strategy to counteract. He was also warning that if kinijit didn't make the entrance of parliament (if the election was to be rigged) as a campaign issue, it would later put itself in a precarious situation. As the party was having a difficulty to chew everything it bite, the suggestions were not given the attention they deserved.
When the June 8 political demonstration turned into a massacre, EPRDF pounced on Andargachew. He was arrested and severely beaten. A former member of EHRCO who was put in the Zewai concentration camp with Andargachew was baffled with Andargachew's survival. When he was released, he was virtually unrecognizable. Yet he returned to work immediately (boringly hard worker who could churn pages and pages of political analysis in a day or two), organizing and chairing the lawyers of the party who were working on the investigation of the election, giving thoughtful press interviews and preparing advise papers. He was still adamant that the party should be ready for EPRDF's offense.
Andargachew was one of the first Kinijit members to be charged of attempting to destroy the constitutional order. When in mid August he left the country, the Pro-government Eftin claimed that he was the most dangerous and subversive member of Kinijit who organized the youth to overthrow an elected government. After the November massacre, my TPLF-connected informants told me that Meles and co. very mush regretted that Andargachew eluded them.
Andargachew is also a very popular politician at home. Kinijit's leaders so appreciated his contributions that he was elected to the supreme council (the leading body of the party) even though he wasn't at home at the time of the election. His best selling book "Netsanetin yemayawik Netsa Awtchi" has made him a house hold name. His honest and heartfelt apology for working with EPRDF just after they controlled Addis Ababa had been received with grace and appreciation by the public who wasn't used to such repentance from politicians. The fourth edition of the book was put on sale just a month ago and it still hit the best seller list.
I think that he is an element who is capable of connecting the democracy movement in Diaspora with the struggle at home. Great choice for a Kinijit substitute leadership.
Kangaroo Truth(Part Two)
By A contributor
Ethio-zagol apologizes for the delay in the publication of the second part of the court room drama. Since journalists are prohibited from publishing the full proceeding, the contributor to this blog has decided to put out ever detail of the drama. It is the greatest farce and you shouldn't miss it. I promise to post the details of this drama daily.
The prosecutors entered the courtroom at exactly 9:45 followed by the "judges". Adil then immediately checked if the mike was working and asked for a technician. When he announced the beginning of the show by saying "criminal file number 43246", the attendants of the trial murmured that they couldn't hear. Judge Adil quickly confirmed if all the defendants were present and explained the reason why the trial was adjourned until May the 8th, 2006. "The trial was adjourned until today," said Adil, "mainly to hear the video evidences presented by the prosecutor and to hear the complaints made by the defendants against the police and the prison administration."

The judge asked the defense councils to give their names for the record.

"Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam Araya, defense for Netsanet Demssie and Daniel Bekele, defendants' number 94 and 95 respectively".

"Aklilu Solomon, defense council for Kassahun Kebede, defendant number 92".

"Is the prosecutor ready to present its evidences?" asked Adil.

Prosecutor-It is to be recalled that on the May 2nd, 2006 trial the court gave us permission to present the video evidences in the same sequence as they are presented in the list of evidences submitted to the court.. Accordingly we are ready to show the video evidences. The prosecutor further said that since he listed 24 video evidences, he would like to present a brief summary explaining which charge would be supported by a particular video evidence. He also argued that he would like to present the facts and issues he intended to establish in a particular charge to be stated at the time when each video was presented for a hearing and explained that the video evidences would establish the alleged criminal acts and prove the guilt of the defendants.

The prosecutor expressed his intention to the court that he prefered to present only some segments of the video that he believed would be relevant to the charges brought and argued further that this was to expedite the proceedings. According to him, each video cassette on average would take two hours to show, and therefore the court should grant permission for the presentation of only some segments of the video.. He then put forward his interest to present the part of the video which focused on the main issues to be established and was adamant that this would not impair the defendants right to defend themselves.

Regarding the contents of the videos, the prosecutor said; "except four videos which are to be presented in full, selected segments that concern the main issues in the charges would be presented form the other 13 videos". The status of the remaining 7 videos would be seen to prove the charges depending on how they are framed.

Adil then asked the prosecutor to confirm if his request was to present the four videos in full, only relevant segments of 13 videos and to decide on the manner how the remaining 7 videos would be presented since they are repetitions.

"Prosecutor" asked Adil, " are you asking to present the 7 videos in full?".

We believe that all evidences submitted would support the case except that some are repetitive. So we ask the court to give us permission to present our evidences in the manner we request to present it.

Judge -At any rate the court will decide whether or not the entire video evidence should be heard in court. However the prosecutor’s request as to whether or not the third category of video evidence consisting of 7 videos should be presented in full, or in part is not clear to the court. This is up to the prosecution to decide. Nevertheless, the court would give ruling on this issue in due course.

At this point Birtukan Mideksa got up and said; “I have a very short question. When was these video cassettes delivered to us? As far as I know, none of us have received the said videos and perhaps I suspect that they might have been given to other groups of defendants.”

Prosecutor- We have deposited the video evidences at a time when we submitted the list of evidences.

Judge- But the defendants had not received the said evidences.

Prosecutor-We have deposited an original copy for the court and another copy to the defendants to be collected from the registrar of the court either through their lawyers or in any way convenient for them.

Defence for Kassahun argued that while it was the defendants who were victims of the trial process , the prosecutor could not demand on their behalf that only four videos out of the 24 would be presented in full at the trial justifying that this was in the interest of speedy trial. If the videos were presented only in partial as requested by the prosecutor, there would be a risk of interpreting the statement or the alleged fact out of context and therefore would jeopardise his client's defence. He then noted that It had been more that four months since the defendants had been formally charged and yet his client had not been provided with none when he was supposed to see each one of the evidences presented against him. "Therefore, the prosecutor should either choose to present all the evidences in full or the court should reject his request to present the video in partial.
The court should make a ruling to the effect that all the evidences listed should be given to his client." the lawyer for Kassahun, Aklilu Solomon contended. He also argued that the prison administration should provide a facility in the prison where he and his client sit and watch the videos.

Further the council submitted that since the alleged crime his client was charged with was related to and dependent on the charges that relate to the defendants listed from number 1- 39(the CUD leaders) on the charge sheet, and since those defendants have withdrawn from participating in the trial proceedings, it was imperative that all the evidences presented against the “main defendants” should be presented in all to determine the alleged guilt of his client.
Lawyer: We shall be given an unreserved access to the prison to be able to consult our clients and prepare our defense. Once the prisoners appear in court and when the court is in session or in recess, the council for the defense should be allowed to freely discuss with the clients in court and the prison guards should not be allowed to instruct the lawyers to do this or that and rather it should be the registrar of the court which has the mandate in the court.

Mean while Daniel Bekele, who is one of the three civil society defendants, approached the table for the defense and reached out for his defense council and started discussion.

The defense for Kassahun further argued that partial presentation of the video evidence would be disadvantageous to the defendants. So it would be in the interest of the public, the media, international community observing the trial and the defendants themselves to get to understand the gist of the entire proceeding that the video evidences should be presented in their entirety on the trial.

Adil interrupted the defense saying that he should only respond on the issue of whether or not the video should be presented in all or in partial.

Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam Araya, defense for Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demssie on his part submitted that the prosecutor in his statement of what evidences he would like to present to support his case had not clearly indicated as to which one of those evidences in his list relates to his clients. Besides, Mengistu told the court that his clients had not received any one of those video evidences. He further argued that if the evidences mentioned by the prosecution related to his clients, they should have been provided with the copy of each of the evidences mentioned in the list to enable his clients understand the charges against them well and prepare their defense properly and told the court that this was their constitutional right. However, said Mengistu, “the prosecution has failed to do so and this is procedurally not correct.” He also told the court that, he should be able to study the evidences to prepare the defense for his clients and therefore requested the court that they should be allowed to make copies of all the evidences the cost of which to be borne by the defendants themselves.

At this point Daniel Bekele, defendant, interfered and said that he wanted to know... Adil interrupted him and asked him to tell the court who he was. “I am Daniel Bekele and would like to know as to what the issues that the prosecutor wanted to establish and prove with these video evidences”.
Daniel: ok if the issues do not relate to us, i.e.,myself and Netsanet, the other civil society defendant...
Judge (interrupted):
There are two questions here, on the one hand, Netsanet and Daniel are asking whether or not the said video evidences relate to their case, and on the other hand have requested that either the video cassettes should be presented in full or they should not be presented as evidences at all. Does the prosecutor has any thing to say on the objection made by the two defendants?

The prosecution argued by justifying his position as to why he was in favor of partial presentation of the video evidences in court. He said that he tried to clarify his argument in his request to the court to get permission to do so. He further elaborated saying that it was in line with the basic principle of providing speedy trial in which both parties to the case would benefit from. He contended that primarily it was out of the concern to serve justice and not because he wanted to present the evidences in partial to give interpretation out of context as alleged by the defense council whom he described as his colleagues in the same profession. He also said that the prosecution had no problem in presenting the evidences in full if the defendants believe that doing so would not prolong the proceedings against their interest.

Prosecutor: The manner in which we choose to present our evidences is not at the mercy of the defendants and; therefore, we have the right to choose how and when to present our evidence. The court, however, always has judicial authority to decide on the issue of whether or not the evidence should be presented in partial or in full. On average the video cassettes would take at least two hours each. If the defendants think that it is crucial to hear all the 24 evidences in full, the prosecutor will not object.
Regarding the issues raised by the defense for Daniel and Netsanet, since the crime relates to riot, it is linking all the defendants at different level of participation and this is clearly stated in the charge sheet.
Nevertheless the prosecution denied that there was request made by the defendants or their lawyers to get the copy of the evidences. He also argued that the prosecution had repeatedly stated that the evidence presented against one defendant would be presented against the other defendants since, he claimed, all were charged of the same crime. He also said that he had no objection on the issue raised by the defense council to get the copy of the evidences and they could mention the convenient way to get access to the evidences so that their right to defend themselves would not be affected.

The prosecutor further argued that it was in good faith that he suggested presenting only segment of the video evidence which he stated was relevant, and not to distort facts by taking such statements or speeches out of context.
prosecutor: It was with the assumption that the defendants has received the evidences and that they would be able to control and check the proper flow of the evidences that we suggested to present the evidences in such a manner.

He then told the court that, the prosecutor had got permission from the court to the effect that it was only at the time where a particular video cassette was presented that the prosecutor would be required to indicate which issues he wanted to prove through that particular cassette.

Judge: After few minutes recess the court will give ruling on the issues presented to it.

Court in recess.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Teaching dictatorship; Meles Style
Meles Zenawi is attending the official inaguaration of Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, Uganda. The parallels between these two leaders are quite astonishing.
1. Both leaders have their wives, Janet Musevini and Azeb Mesfin, elected to parliament.
2.Both put their political rivals in prison.
3. Both stayed in power for fourteen years
4. Both assumed their leadership through a rebellion.
5. Both used excessive force against demonstrators in recent months.
6. Meles is partly Eritrean while Musevini is half-Rwandese.
7. Both were praised as the new generation african leaders by the West.
Yet their differences are also noteworthy
1. Musevini has allowed independent electronic media to flourish while meles only recently allowed only two very pro-government media organizations to have a broadcasting license.
2. Uganda still has a relatively independent and strong judiciary while the Ethiopian Judiciary is such a sham.
3. Meles killed demonstrators; musevini spared lives
4. Musevini brought bailable charges of rape and corruption against his main rival while meles charged hundreds of opposition members of high treason and genocide.
5. Under musevini Uganda's economy has grown relatively faster than most sub-saharan Africa. Meles has little to show in the economic front with the ethiopian economy growing only 2% a year(with population growth taken into account) in the last fourteen years.

My Ugandan Friends tell me that Meles is having a bad influence on their leader. The teacher is in the student's inaguration. More meles style repression is expected in Uganda.

Ethio-zagol comes up with the story of the incredible court room drama tomorrow.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blasts kill five, 42 injured...Addis tense
Although other news sources have reported it, I find it compelling to say something about to day's explosions. There were eight of them, killing five and injuring fourty two. I arrived at the scene of the gotera blast minutes after it happened. Blood all over the place. I was told two died immediately. Today's targets were public transportation, cafteria and places frequented by people. Three were in the merkato area( two cafes and vendor's box); two in piassa(Ethiopian airlines ticket office and Ethiopian electic light corporation); one near the tikur anbessa hosital(Taxi); one at sost kutir mazoriya(Bus no. 77) and the last at Gotera(small bus).
Most people I talked with were pointing their fingures on the government. Papers calling civil disobedience are circulating in the city. It is likely that some kind of action may take place on may 15. Some say the government is planting and exploding bombs to get a justification for mass arrest before may 15.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kangaroo Truth
By TPLF Pictures

Adil Ahmed
Shimeles kemal
Seid Ahmed
(Part one)
By a contributor to seminawork

An amorphous kebele hall in kaliti was converted to a scene for the show of the century pursuant to the decision of Meles's ad hoc tribunal. The prosecutor had started introducing its video evidences on Monday.

When on Monday morning vans and buses carrying the defendants parked in the compound of the Kebele hall, camera man hiding behind the trees started filming. Filming was prohibited for the media and everybody guessed who this man could be. He continued what he was doing while they disembarked from the vehicles and walked to the entrance of the room. The defendants did not even notice, walking regally and with confidence. The place was infested with EPRDF Intelligence people. They were so busy watching other people’s moves that it takes a minute to identify them. These people were assigned with different tasks. Some of them had already taken their seats in advance among the family members of the detainees, giving the impression to the person sitting next to them that one or the other defendant was their beloved one. They would start a discussion of some sort to enable them gather information, opinion, reaction or to generally measure the temperature about the proceedings from the attendants. Others were busy checking and writing down number plates of people who came to attend the” trial”.

Attendants of the court were searched thoroughly at the gate and would face a second search at the entrance. It looked like EPRDF was caught in a dilemma as to whether or not to allow as many people as possible to attend the show trial. This was made clear from the beginning when the authorities distributed a pass only to about 200 people while the room was big enough to accommodate more than 500 people. On the one hand, EPRDF wanted the world to believe that this show trial was public and; therefore, people were allowed to attend and on the other, it wanted to keep the number of attendants as minimum as possible since the main purpose of moving the venue 20 Ks out of Addis was to distance the leaders from public view. EPRDF seriously believed that the public had very short memory and was trying very hard to keep low the defendants' profile.

Unfortunately it was witnessed otherwise. The harder EPRDF tried to dissociate the detainees from their followers and supporters, the more they became magnificent and heroes.

The hall was wide and was partitioned into two across the room leaving just enough entrance on both edges of the partition. Attendants would access the side which was designated as a “court room” on the extreme left side and the detainees on the right side immediately at the entrance of the hall.

Seats were arranged in three rows facing the stage. The one on the right side where the defendants sat was separated from the other two rows by a chain ring hooked on the bars along the row. A number of police men, were gathered, carrying their arms in the other side of the hall behind the partition. These were additional to the ones deployed all the way from the main road and those who loiter just outside the compound. There was another room, a third one, partitioned by a long curtain drawn from the ceiling to floor. This was where the prosecutors and the court’s staff stayed before the court opened its session and while in recess.

Another long curtain dividing the stage into two parts was drawn to the floor. The one behind the curtain was an office for the judges This was a clear case of shameless “Judges” who did not even care to have a dissent office. But surely they must have been right they did not need one since this was not a serious court but rather a case of chop, chop show trial.

“Court” staff mobilized for the show trial was running around to arrange the stage for the show. They did not bother themselves to do their homework before the date set for the show. The attendants could not believe what they were observing. Two of the staff members were hurrying to put the EPRDF flag on both sides of the bench. The scene was not different from a mock trial where students try to imitate a real court session.

A white screen where the prosecutor's video was to be projected on was hung on the extreme right of the judges. Everyone was anxious to watch who was featuring in the alleged coup on Meles and his co. Low quality radio cassette player was placed under the screen. I think it was for the audio part. Two technicians running the gadgets sat near the table assigned for the defense lawyers. There was also a TV set behind the screen which might be intended to be used as a back up in case tech failed them.

There is booth for the interpreters on the extreme left side opposite the technicians. Two young non professional, non qualified interpreters were assigned to do the job.

The table for the prosecutors was arranged just near the booth facing the defense table.

End of Part one

Part two of the story will focus on the show itself.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Birhane Mewa, The MAN
The first time I came across the name Birhane Mewa was when he was the chair of the Ethiopian private Industrialists Association. I read an article on the reporter by a famous young libertarian, criticizing Birhane for suggesting that the government should give protection for Ethiopian infant industries who were really struggling against the competition from Chinese manufacturers. A week or so latter, I had an opportunity to talk with the man on a panel organized by the Ethiopian Economic Association. The man was articulate, knew what he was talking about. I was quite mesmerized.
Afterwards, Birhane moved on to chair the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. I watched him closely. He was one of the very few leaders of an association who was not the imposter of EPRDF. The organizations he led were always independent of government influence, reflecting what Birhane thought were the interests of its members. With his profile always increasing, he gained the public’s trust as a man of principle, integrity and independence. As a public person, he had to constantly rise above the mud slinging and muck racking. Oh, boy he did.
That I, believed, put him in EPRDF’s blacklist; and when he was accused of tax evasion, not even the party’s members really believed the story. As it had done to many nationalist, dignified and competitive Ethiopians, EPRDF was aiming its arsenal to destroy Birhane. In fact, the reverse happened. The politically motivated charge enhanced Birhane’s reputation as a people’s man. When he left Ethiopia via Kenya after being released on bail, people were sad that a capable, Ethiopian-loving man was leaving Ethiopia yet again. Yet the formation of Kinijit and Birhane’s role as a representative of the party in the US has returned Birhane back to where he belongs – public life. The measured and articulate interviews he constantly gives on VOA these days have made him a hero in Addis.
So I was really surprised when ER started a smear campaign against Birhane. I chatted with people who worked under him to know if he had any skeletons in his cupboard. Their opinions about him were almost unanimous. He might be a fierce believer on some values and principles; and naturally, this kind of people may sometimes be uncompromising. Some people may not like that. Nevertheless, you could not accuse Birhane of obsessive squabbling and backbiting. He is grander than that.
Elias Kifle should stop smearing the unsmearable. Birhane’s moral high ground is so high that Elias would not stand the rockslide while digging to destroy The MAN.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Mystery of Vicki Huddlestone
Gossips as to the whereabouts of Vicki huddlestone were being thrown around the corridors of American embassy here in Addis.The controversial diplomat was unusually abscent from the Embassy this past week. One had it that she was to be replaced by an ambassador. An unlucky tall lady who was seen in and around the embassy was, for this gossipers, the obvious replacement. It must not be a coincidence that this lady was to hang around the compound when the other one left without trace. Alas, the other group provided a completly different rationale(and a more plausible one) for Vicki's abscence. This group said it had a confirmation that the fiery old woman was having a great vacation in the illustious Italian city of Venice. Who to pay for the lavish vacation of this retired government employee was anyone's guess. Al-amoudi's name was constantly mentioned.
Zagol wondered whether this was a time for vacationing. The charge d'affaires broke so much that she needed a borrowed time to fix what she broke.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Tigray issue and
Two days before the great may 7 rally, Birhanu Nega and lidetu Ayalew appeared on ETV and mustered the most dazzling political peformance ever wittnessed on an Ethiopian media. They were churning out positive after positive political message. When the show was over I called my TPLF friend and asked him "So what?".. . "What can I say," he replied. Birhanu was particularly amazing when he dealt with the Tigray issue. "Kinijit would be happy if Tigray was developing as some claimed. The reality was it wasn't. " Or so Dr. Nega said. subtly, he underscored that what he and Kinijit stood for was against the gangster, unpatriotic capitalism of TPLF, not against the down-trodden Ethiopia-loving people of Tigray and Tigrians.
Thus, I say, some of the opposition members and supporters who try to bad-mouth and blame the problem of our beloved nation on Tigrains are working and acting against the kinijit spirit and philosophy that Birhanu so admiringly articulated. He and fellow kinijit leaders are langushing in prison for advancing that spirit.
A website,, is at the moment posting comments and poems that trounce the spirit of Kinijit. Before the damage is done to our ideals, let's tell the host that this views are divisive and can't be tolerated. Thanks for Abreha Belai for removing the link to the site from

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mimi Sibahtu
The former VOA presenter is getting to be one of the most vilified women in Addis. Her arrogant know-it-all attitude reflected in her very boring talk shows are really disgusting people. Her peanut paid reporters spend long minutes on her show trying to convice the audience that she is a rain maker. Ethiopians are adept at tolerating boring and aloof propogandists. They would have just forgotten Mimi as they had so many before her. Mimi, however, is a woman who has blood in her hands. Her newspaper(managed by her husband) openly advocated for the imprisonment of journalists and tried to justify the killing of innocent young men and women. She labeled the whole Kinijit supporters(more than 6 million even according to the statistics of the electoral board) as the sons and daughters of Tadios Tantu and advised for their persecution. So people hate and disdain her and they show that wherever she goes.
on Monday, this close friend of Azeb mesfin was enjoying herself sipping capuccino at one of the over-crowded bars at Arat Kilo. Some young men approached her and spoke of their utter disgust with her. Others nodded. Some shouted insults on her. This shameless creature took it all and replied with the same arrogance as our non-sense talking, illegitimate prime minister. "You have a right to say all this on my show," she said.
"Who the hell cares about your show anyway? We just want to tell you that their will be a time when you will face justice and our grace," a young man replied.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The tale of Chere sefer
Chere sefer isn't a big, big village like my place Lideta. But recently it is hosting some "big men" from TPLF consulting with a "wise" man called Genenew Assefa. As Genenew spends his evenings at Tinshua Bet, the "big men" usually visit him on day time. They ask him and his friend Zerihun Teshome, another "wise" man who frequents Tinshua bet, who to select for the leadership of Addis Ababa city government. The name Zegeye Asfaw was mentioned. The hosts thought he was a neutral figure who would attract oromos. The TPLF men carried the advise to their heart and asked Zegeye's consent. He, I heard, declined. Other names are being thrown now and then. But for the former WPE members, nobody seems interested in the job. TPLF's rule is now called by insiders as the Mimi Sibhatu government. Apart from her husband and friend(Zerihun and Genenew) being serious advisors of Meles, one of their company Shimeles, the sleazy ex-journalist, is prosecuting the prisoners. Mimi is also runnning the gov't media as a consultant and a talk show producer and host.
Keys for understanding the article:
Chere sefer: A small village near Sidist Kilo
Tinshua Bet: A bar near the Bole Medhanialem
Genenew Assefa: Former member of EPRP and genet Zewde's half-brother
Zerihun teshomw: The man who is referred to as the "Iftin Joro Tebi".
The court and the prisoners
This is a trial observation sent to me by a usual whistle-blower to this site. It is Published as written by the author
(by an observer)
Today was one of the episodes of their appearance at the Kangaroo court of Meles.
At about 9: 10 the detainees started entering the room waiving their hands and smiling at the crowd of family members, supporters, members of the int’l community and friends. The court attendants rose from their seats and greeted their loved ones.

It was an interesting moment for all present to see the detainees excited, as this is the only opportunity they have to see each other, sit together and talk. They had quickly started hugging and greeting each other asking how well the other comrade in arms is doing in their respective cell.

The detainees were particularly happy to see Muluneh Eyoel, Secretary General of CUDP, among themselves as he was held in solitary confinement in another prison called Kerchele since for the last three weeks. He was heard saying he was well.
Some members of the int’l community were heard asking if the detainees are not held in the same prison compound when they see those exchanging greetings.

The female detainees were the last to enter the room and were directed by the guards to sit separately from the male defendants in one of the corners of the room. This was specifically designed to keep the female defendants, particularly Birtukan, the vice chairwoman of CUDP, in absolute incommunicado with the male ones. It was at this moment that the crowd noticed that Birtukan was not present among her cell mates. People started asking why she did not show up and started looking around and wondered if something had happened to her.

Those sitting close to where the detainees were have started to ask the other female detainees about Birtukan, and they said she is kept outside by the police. The situation was not clear until the judges came in and the session begun.

The prosecutors only came in at 10: 25 just five minutes before the judges entered the room. All the court attendants including the detainees rose as instructed by the bailiff. However, when Adil Mohamod, the presiding judge of the Meles Kangaroo court, told all to sit down the detainees remained standing up while all the attendants sat down. The judges and everyone present were wondering as to why the detainees did so. Nevertheless, Adil continued and asked the prison authorities if all the detainees were present and one of the guards responded yes.

The detainees, while still standing up screamed and told the judge that Birtukan is not present and further told the court that since they are jointly charged with her for the same crime, they could benefit from her advice as she is a lawyer. Adil then asked the guard why he said yes, the guard replied that she is outside. Aidl continued asking the guard why she was kept outside and ordered the guard to bring her in. The session was interrupted for a while due to this. At this point Birtukan entered the room through the back entrance and stood on the passage between the benches dividing the men and the women defendants. She tried to sit with the male detainees but the guards did not allow her. Some argument ensued at the scene while Birtukan and the guards were exchanging words. Adil finally asked Birtukan if there was any thing wrong. She told the court that the police did not allow her to sit with the other defendants who are jointly charged with her in a mass charge. She further argued that there is no law in the country which requires female and male defendants who are jointly charged for the same crime to sit separately in court and asked the court why the need for the introduction of this new rule. Adil then allowed her to sit with the male defendants. The detainees then sat down. Those female detainees who are not lawyers and did not want to argue with the police sat separately from the male defendants.

Finally Adil announced that the court was adjourned until today as per article 136 of the criminal procedure code of Ethiopia which requires the prosecution to open its case through presenting its opening statement.

The detainees asked the court to give them permission to present their complaints but the judge told them that they will be heard later.

The judge asked the prosecutor whether or not he is ready to start his case and the prosecutor answered yes. He also asked the court to insert an article of the criminal code which he said is omitted by mistake. But the judge said that insertion in effect amounts to amending the charge and asked if that is what the prosecution is asking for.

Accordingly the court accepted the request for amendment of the charges by the prosecutor in which count number 7 was reduced from actual genocide to an attempt to genocide – Article 27 (1) & 269 (1).

The court ordered the prosecutor to distribute copy of the amended charges and after reading the charge asked the detainees to enter their plea and present their objection to the new charge as amended.

Adil asked Ato Hailu to enter his plea to the new charge. Hailu rose kept silent and sat back as usual. Adil then told the detainees, realizing that they would not say a word, that they could raise their hands and tell the court if they have a different opinion so that he would not appear foolish when everyone ignores him. Yeneneh Mulatu , CUDP senior council member and lawyer challenged the court arguing that the court should follow the procedure and ask each defendant to enter his plea and objection to the charge and further said that it is not procedural for the court to ask all defendants to enter their plea in mass. Adil nodded and accepted the remark by Anteneh, who was a judge himself, and started asking each defendant to enter their plea. However, all of them remained silent and some were seen covering their mouth and eye in protest. Adil then said that although all defendants remained silent when asked to enter their plea, the court have entered a not guilty plea for all the defendants as per the law.

The court asked the prosecutor to submit his case and the prosecutor requested the court’s permission to present its evidences in the following order.

- first , the video evidence
- second, audio
-third, written documents ,
- medical and police reports ,
- and finally witnesses,

This strategy is deliberately designed by the woyane regime not to present its witnesses at this stage in my opinion for the following reasons , they are not sure if they are trained enough , they wanted to see how the political development would look like in the coming weeks and months , they may have not recruited enough false witnesses, they want to see how the reaction of the people is by showing films , they may be a breakthrough which forces Meles to drop the entire trumped up charge either external or internal or both, as we hear some witnesses are already disclosing themselves to the detainees – fyi, there were few witnesses who showed up in prison on Sunday and told the detainees like Birhanu and them that they are 14 of them who are forced by woyane to testify against kinjit leaders, these people appeared to be sympathizers and they are not willing to testify. One of the detainees who were editor of Menilik was asked on Friday (he is Biree’s cell mate) by the prison authorities that if he testifies against the kinjit leaders he will be freed. But he told them got to hell (BTW he is a stunt editor and not actual).

So they are not sure of the direction of the case and in fact we all know that the charges are brought for keeping the leaders in jail long enough and not for conviction.

I also heard that the video tapes are as many as 79 and imagine how long it would take for the show and besides the court is confirming that it is a Kangaroo court as it is adhoc . It is going to hear exclusively the CUDP case.

The prosecutor continued and read his opening statement which is very general than the charge itself. Nothing was specific and the int’l community who were present was also complaining about its generality. They were also provided with translator who is not capable and was leaving a long gap between speeches, not simultaneous so it could not even qualify to be partial translation.

The judge then asked does this mean that there are no witnesses present today. The prosecutor replied that the witnesses will be heard after all the video, audio, docu, evidences are submitted.

The judge finally allowed the detainees to present their complaints.
First , Sisay Agena told the court that the remand court ordered the police to return his Money which is 78,000 Birr and computers which the police confiscated from his house when they he was arrested 6 months ago . He also argued that there is no point in holding his money and property for so long after the investigation is over. He also posed the question to the court saying that if this court is not looking into such issues where else can I get justice?

Muluneh was the second to be given the chance to present his complaint to the court. He introduced himself first, “I am Muluneh Eyoel , and would like to present to the court the suffering I went through and the condition I was in since Megabit 30.

I was made to live incommunicado/solitary confinement at a place called Kerchele _Alem Bekagne, in a dark room, alone. My only crime as I am told by the prison authorities is that I refused to accept the order of the guards who repeatedly warned me to stop communicating in my mother tongue with my family members , friends and relatives who came to visit me form my birth village and who can only speak my mother tongue . I persistently told the guards that it is my constitutional right to speak with a language that I know and if you think I am a threat just because I speak my language, the prison manual states that you could bring a guard or assign another person who can speak the language I am speaking to be present while I communicate with my family in my mother tongue. However, it is unconstitutional to stop me not to speak my own language.

My other crime is, according to the prison authorities that I continued to wear a T- shirt with a word Kinjit written on it and flash the V sign which is Kinjit’s election sign despite the authorities order not to do so. I still told them that it my right to wear the t-shirt I wanted to and it is my party sign. I further told them that why should I be stoped from wearing this t-shirt with the word kinjit written on it as I would not be told so if I were wearinga T-shirt which says “KEHADEG GAR MECHIW ZEMEN BIRUH NEW” people laughed when he said this. The prison manual clearly states the rights and duties of a prisoner and so my right emanates form these two sources namely the constitution and the prison manula.

So he continued , these is how the controversy and argument started between myself and the prison guards as I continuously refused to comply with orders which are unconstitutional and arbitrary.

This same guy said Muluneh , who gave me the prison manual , is the one who tells me that I have no right and I should forget about talking constitution etc. For instance, one day while my visitors came to see me, one of the guards told me not to speak in my mother language and I told him that he should call his boss expecting that he might be in a better position to understand the manual, unfortunately his response was “if it is Muluneh leave him let him speak in his language he is ELEHEGNA. All the detainees once were fed up with the mistreatment of the prison authorities and decided and submitted a written application detailing our complaints to demand explanation as to why they are not following the prison manual and respect our rights as prisoners . Then the guards labeled as a person who is making the prisoners to connive. As a result I was subjected to continuous harassment by the prison police and condemned to my current condition.

I don’t think that a prisoner who is only asking only to exercise his right should suffer and demanding rights should not be considered as conspiring. I should not be condemned to such suffering just because I wear a black T-shirt and be handcuffed for that.

He further told the court that the prison admin should not be allowed to take unconstitutional measures on prisoners who demanded their rights.

In Alem Beqagne where I am held in solitary confinement, am only allowed to get out of the dark room for only 2 hours in 24 hours.

At the first week of my confinement I was only allowed too be visited during the weekend by my sisters and parents and not friends or relatives. After a while I was given access to dim light, and now I am allowed to be visited by friends but still when no body else is outside. I can only be visited not during the regular hour with other prisoners, but when the whole prison compound is deserted so that I can not see anyone and vice versa.

What happened on Miazia 5 and 8 is unbelievable. The prison authorities came and told me that there are visitors who would like to talk to you so you will talk to them. I said It is not my interest to talk to people whom I don’t know and besides I have a right not to talk to people whom I don’t want to . The police told me that this is an instruction from higher authorities and you can not refuse but I said no. Mean while the visitor or guest the police referring to approached me while I was arguing with the authorities that I did not want , the visitor happened to be Ato Solomon Asmelash whom I know who he is and he is an editor of the Pro EPRDF Paper Eftin. He told me who he is but I told him that I know him while he was an E TV journalist and I told him that I don’t want to talk to him or being interviewed. But they suddenly started taking my pictures with out m permission and I shouted at them that it is not legal to take my picture forcefully. I asked for help from the other police who were watching the scene to assist me saying BEHIG AMLAK these are civilians. The police later told me that if they try to interfere they would also face the same fate like I am.

I then run to the toilet and they waited for me adjusting their tripod until I come out and started taking more pictures, then I decided to take off my clothes to discourage them as it the picture they took In that condition would not be useful for them.

Now I am suffering from psychological torture and I am not sleeping well. I am forced to take a sleeping peel. The whole situation caused fear in me. I have a feeling that if these people are allowed to do all these illegal things on me I am hopeless and fearing that they might come and kill me as no body is there as a witness.

I am now seeing a psychiatrist due to all sorts of trauma I went through. Therefore I ask the court to order the police to go back to Kality so that I can even get a witness if something happens to me. I do not want to live in continuous solitary confinement.

All the defendants asked the court to get back their confiscated property by police to especially Camera, Computers etc which can be easily damaged as the battery will be dead.

Nigist who is a single mother, asked the court to be allowed to advise her children as to how to lead their life whom she said are living by themselves.

Finally Ruling

Prosecutor to present the video evidence starting on Monday, TV, VCR to be ready ( all are invited for this movie show by the Kangaroo court)

The court is now moved to the new building located near Kaliti ( kebele 08 hall)

To investigat the matter about Eyoel’s complaints of forcedpic, etc,

To investigate about the alleged torture on the detainee number 119 on the charge

Police to answer on the complaints by all the detainees about their confiscate property

during their arrest

Adjourned until miazia 30 , Monday ,venue kaliti.

Blog Archive