Thursday, August 03, 2006

A psychopath in charge of Ethiopian justice

Alemayehu Zemedkun, the soft spoken ex-ministry of justice official has known Shimeles kemal, the chief prosecutor against the Kinijit leaders, from their university days. "Our friendship runs for more than 22 years," he told this blogger. It was a friendship which lasted differences in temperament, ideology and way of life. Yet the November 1 repression and the subsequent involvement of Shimeles in the prosecution of the leaders of Kinijit, journalists and civil society members led Alemayehu to question whether that friendship should continue. A mutual friend of both men, Action Aid policy campaigner, Daniel Bekele was among the people accused by Shimeles of treason and genocide.
Alemayehu recounted the day he had a seven hours debate with Shimeles about the trials. "First he was adamantly claiming that these people were killers. Then when I made a point to him that as a prosecutor assertions and declarations weren't enough and that he should have adduced evidence to the effect of his claim, he was saying there were things I shouldn't know," Alemayehu said of his conversation with Shimeles.
The story about the chief prosecutor was very surprising. When prosecutors at the Ministry of Justice were praying that they wouldn't be given the responsibility of prosecuting the political prisoners, Shimeles took up the task at his own request. "He always gets exultations from anti-social behavior. This goes even beyond that. It is a survival attempt as well," Alemayehu claimed. His theory is certainly plausible.
As a former judge, Shimeles Kemal made two notorious decisions which put him in the annals of infamy. The first was when he convicted and sentenced Professor Asrat Woldeyes, that great Ethiopian surgeon, who died latter after he acquired a debilitating disease in prison. Shimeles then convicted Muslim leaders who made a show of defiance against EPRDF at the great Anwar mosque. He was also presiding Dr. Taye W. Semaet's trial when his TPLF masters fired him. The reasons for his dismissal are yet unknown. "He ran into trouble with most people who knew the decisions he made. When he became attorney at law, he had virtually no client. His involvement in drafting the notorious Ethiopian press law didn't help either. He knew that despite his dismissal, his survival depended on the survival of EPRDF. He tried to give short term solutions to almost all of the party's problems, "Alemayehu said. Shimeles initiated the formation of surrogate union of journalists, tried to give legal justification to the prime minister's emergency law in the wake of the election, took over the case against the political prisoners, and drafted the draconian press law. According to Alemayehu, he was everywhere where the EPRDF needed him. "Not even senior members worked for the party like this," Alemayehu wondered.
The former justice ministry official also thought that this chief prosecutor was vengeful. "The decision to prosecute Daniel was taken by Shimeles himself. They were very close friends. Yet when Shimeles drafted the press law, Daniel became publicly critical of his friend's draft law. He was very upset with Daniel and was biding his time," Alemayehu told this blogger.
Alemayehu painted a picture of a chief prosecutor who was also quite paranoid. "One day we met after a ministry of justice meeting and he was visibly angry. When I asked him what happened, he told me the employees at the ministry hate him. 'I can see a cold, sene1 hate and revenge on their eyes, ' he said. I thought he was suffering from a serious psychological problem. He thought everybody hated him and he was ready to destroy them," Alemayehu said. Sene 1 was a day when 42 protestors who opposed the stolen elections were killed by TPLF sharp shooters.
So what did Alemayehu think of the charges? "They are so blatantly fabricated that it doesn't need my expert opinion to call them 'political charges'. Yet I believe and have strong evidence that they will be convicted. There will be a group of people who would be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment. There will be two other groups who get medium and light sentences," Almayehu predicted. I asked him the basis of his prediction. "I have talked with people who are taking care of the case. EPRDF recognized that it was on the verge of losing power because of the elections and it wanted to give a punishment for those who threatened its power. The trials are for the sake of the international community, to show them that the decision is made by an independent court. They know the international community needs only cosmetic efforts. I am sure the sentences will be given to the judge by Shimeles," Alemayehu replied.

Alemayehu will be a great asset for democracy activists in Diaspora. Please contact him and use his knowledge and inside information for our cause.


Anonymous said...

Ethio Zagol,

Thank you for updating us on the
sinister plot being cooked up for
our Leaders by the muderous regime.

Read my lips! No More Asrats!!!!!
They have already spent 10 months of their precious life in jail.We will rise up against these nazis and reclaim our country.

some hod ader Ethiopians might choose to sit on their behind and let these thugs ruin our country beyond any repair, but patriotic Ethiopians will not. And I am certain there are more of us than them.

Dendir said...

Well here I am Annonimous. A patriotic Ethiopian. And I stand behind sensible evolutionary change and not extremists Arbegnotche Ginbare, whose motto is Let Us Save Ethiopia from Eritrea. As to Mr. Zemedkun, I don't question the authenticity of his accusations nor would I jump on the band wagon. I just think he is irrelevant. In fact, his relevance is a testament to the fact that CUD-D.C.-L.A. is weak and dying. So weak that it recycles the defection of a junior bureaucrat as if Bereket Simon himself defected. Furthermore, I would love to know why it took the actions against CUD leaders for Mr. Zemedkun to leave and ask for asylum. Considering the fact that your premise is that the Justice system is full of INJUSTICE, where was Mr. Democrat in regards to other injustices that occurred, in accordance with your accusation. I wish Mr. Zemedkun a wonderful life as a Gas Station Attendant. Granted, he will be the most well read Gas Station Attendant. Just a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

The truth never dies.The dictater,MELES ZENAWE,will face justice by the ethiopians sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

How about let us save Ethiopia from Isayas and his duriye and killer friend Meles. These are the enemies of Ethiopia, the last i checked Meles gave away part of a region as a gift to his friend, so for EPRDF supporters to tell us Meles is protecting us from his friend Isayas, we know it's only a joke. Mr.Zemedkun, i hope you left the country with relevant and important doccuments to help set free the jailed political prisoners.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ethio-Zagol: You asked us to contact Alemayehu so he can contribute to our pro-democracy efforts. But you didn't provide any information as to how to get in touch with him.

Anonymous said...

inde Hewan,
you know what Hewan did, she gave Adam the forbidden fruit and got the human race out of the garden of eden. Are you trying to go the same to Alemayehu, ethio zagol and all other other freedom fighters and trick them, do inde Hewan - what an ideot, they are smarter than you think!

Anonymous said...

Hi, an interesting Article. Thanks Blogger. I would like to ask you, how i cominicat with Ato Alemayehu Zemedkun. I know him well for good. Thanks Selam hunu!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article, Zagol.

We know the vast majority of bureaucrats and even significant numbers among the members of the EPRDF are sympathetic to the cause for democracy, but it's always nice to have concrete examples such as this.

Now that he is in the USA, hopefully he will be willing to be contacted.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully his escape is not similar to those eight or so air force pilots a year or so ago, which amounted to ziltch. With all the resources spent to train them, they are probably working as store clerks somewhere. In Alemayehu's case one hopes he has been able to get out with important and credible documents that will help put these EPRDF criminals behind jail at some point. I also believe with his legal expertise and the momentum that has been building around him the last few days he could be a force to bring around the faltering KNA and KI to their senses. True he should take a few days off just to get acclimated, but after that he should join the fight for saving the jailed Kinijit leaders. Hopefully he is up to it, but again we all have seen enough of the inebriates and the lazy bums of current day Kinijits who have proven to be very good at one and only one thing - dismantling the very organization they were supposed to nurture and protect.

ethio-Zagol said...

Dear Inde Hewan:
I couldn't post his address on this blog for obvious reasons. He will surely be on other eth. media in the US soon, there will be a way to contact him. For more info, please contact me via th e-mail.

Anonymous said...

I noticed lately woyane cadres try to belittle your work by negatively commenting on the news you bring to us. Thes bandas masquarade as supporters of the struggle for freedom from woyane fascism, but leave their poisoneous remarks. For the unsuspecting Ethiopians they seem genuine. But some of us can read them like a book right away. These people are paid to do this.
I just want to encourage you to bring us the news just like you always have. Don't be discouraged by this bandits. We know their background. we can trace them with pin point accuracy and even from where and what PC they used to spit their venom.

Zagol, You are a good man and keep up the good work. Forget critics. They are good=for-nothing crap-shooting bunch.

I Commend you.
God Bless and God speed

Anonymous said...

Mr.Alemayehu, we all appreciate your brave decision but what takes you soo long to leave this vicious government?

Yenem Kene Derese

Anonymous said...


Your name sounds like that of the workoholic guragues whose respect for any kind of work puts them among the economically well-to-do Ethiopians. The fact that you decided to prejudge Mr. Zemedkun and predict that he is going to be another gas station attendant speaks a lot about you. Your insensitive comment not only offends Mr. Zemedkun, who has the potential to do much better than the likes of you, but also thousands of hard working Ethiopian immigrants who support their families by doing whatever is available. It is the attitude of people like you who wouldn't pick up a piece of wood to do anything that draged our country back and it is a shame that you didn't change after living in the west. You are entitled to your opinion, but keep in mind that in this part of the world "manignawum sira kibur newu".

Peace to all.

Anonymous said...

why say all this about Alex. can't we wait to hear what he has to say. all this praise and condemnation is so COMMON IN OUR CULTURE. TO SPEAK WITH CERTAINTY WITH OUT THE FACTS. someone said the scientist believes in proof without certainty, the bigot in certainty without proof. does it make sense?

Anonymous said...

Anon before last,

People like Dendir are cluless about honest work for an honest pay.These vulgar foot soldiers rather feed off the scraps that their masters throw their way and sit behind a computer and malign others. In Reaganesque parlance, they are the welfare kings and queens of present day Ethiopia.

Dendir will never even be half the man Alemayehu is!

Anonymous said...

i agree with you when you say we have to be careful not elevate this person beyond what he really is. However i found your scepticism somewhat misplaced, i trust you have been to Bole and given the chaos in that place you only need one or two officials to turn a blind eye for him to leave the country except if EPRDF did not want him to leave and circulated his details to all ports and i don't think that is what this chap is saying, there were ppl who managed to escape from the most sophisticated inteligence service like the KGB so i don't think it is beyond him to do so, as for the visa well in my experience whenever you apply for US visa as a visitor you are granted 2 years so maybe the visa was granted before he was asked to bring the charges against our leaders, i suspect with the approval of teh EPRDF. I think the issue for me is not how he left and his motives but to ask him to contribute to the struggle by exposing the inner workings of the EPRDF and the way the sham legal machinery works as his briefing would carry more weight before opinion formers compared to you and I.

i am also dismayed how you already assumed that this chap who i assume has legal qualifications will end up as a gas attendant. There is no need to show this degree of disdain to a fellow ethiopian who fled this ruthelss regime.

long live agere

Dendir said...

I wish the man all the luck in the world. He is going to need it. Let us not gentrify the reality of life in America when one leaves the homeland after establishing a career and moves to the U.S.A. It is quite common to see folks with all kinds of education attending to individuals like myself whenever I need to get some gas or at the seven eleven. That is the reality. He might be the exception. Good for him. But the norm is that he will be a highly educated physical laborer in one of the many cities of the U.S.A. Frankly, I do appreciate the infusion of cheap immigrant labor. I just don't think it is in his best interest nor that of the country. He will most probably be another misreable and bitter immigrant.
I take issue with the need to make him bigger than he really is. I take issue because I am not a politician. Politicians spin. I understand it. CUDP-D.C. wants to make it bigger than it really is and I am sure EPRDF wants to make it smaller than it really is. But he isn't that significant. He files civil actions against folks. That is not state secret. He collects money damages folks. He doesn't get invited to the war room to execute military policy in somalia. That i think is the reality. Just a different perspective folks.

Anonymous said...


Dendir: ayezoshe, Ato Alemayehu is already playing a good role and contacting the right people. He is already in good hands; I mean very very good hands. The document in his possesion are the damaging ones too. So, Keep your head up Denderish. That goes for all Ethiopians - gas attendants who work long hours to support thier families, the parkologists who played a big role during the demonistrations in DC, the taxi drivers who did their share for advancemnt of HR 5680, the intellectuals and lecturers who are doing excellent on the lobbying, the average brother/sister who wishs our nation to stride toward freedom and democracy,the "bitter and miserable" Yager lijoche, the happy bunny I know it all yager lijoche ------ all and all Ato Alemayehu's defect has an excellent impact on the struggle.

Anonymous said...

anonymous above
You are dreaming. Wake up dear

Anonymous said...

I read your comment with interest. I am at a loss why you feel the need to spent your energy pontificafing as to what would be this chap's career in the USA, i think most ethiopians know the reality of life in the USA. The issue we need to focus is what part this chap will play in the struggle. This is a man who worked within the EPRDF legal machinery and knows a great deal about their modus operandi. I am sure you will agree with me he can tell us a great deal about the inner working of this deadly successful machinery. I say successful because it really neutralised any pressure that Western countries could have brought to bear on the EPRDF as the mantra "we will not interfere with a independent process"is a very powerful one, hence this lame and to me intellectual dishonest statement caling for a speedy trial when you and i know too well the trial cannot possibly be neiher fair or speedy. So to have someone expose the inner workings of this deadly machinery would be a welcomed even by you, i would have thought.

On what basis you assert that he will probably another miserable and bitter immigrant?, i don't think this is an ethiopian way of behaving towards a man you don't even know.

I would like to correct you dendir i did not say we should make it bigger than he really is, if you read my comment carefully i said i agreed with you we should NOT make him bigger than he really is. Dendir it is very easy to be an arm chair critic, ask yourself what contribution you make to free our country froma regime that is devoid of any humanity.
long live agere

Dendir said...

Dearest Anonymous above, I hear you. My approach differs from yours in that you assume there are damaging reports. There are none. There could not be any. I say that because most western nations, especially those that count, know fully well that the Ethiopian judiciary is not independent. They know that the PM has complete control of the entire nation. What are you going to find in some legal rambling paper that will enlighten the western world regarding the Judiciary in Ethiopia. Let us say you find a letter written by our PM himself saying file civil papers whether it is warranted or not. So what. He can do a lot worst and the impact is minimum. Why? They know already. They know already. It is a non-issue. Let alone a jr technocrat like Mr. Zemedkun, even the defection of the high level politicans has not in any manner impacted the regime. Nor have they been able to produce any document worthy of being called a scandal. Thus, Mr. Zemedkun becomes just another immigrant, and most probably a bitter one cause most immigrants who come on late to the U.S. end up bitter as a result of the reality of life in the U.S.A. I mention that because he would probably gain little on the personal front while Ethiopia loses another learned individual. He has minimal impact on the opposition, minimal impact on his personal well being, and maximum impact due to brain drain of the nation. So I say to Mr. Zemedkun, absent your need to watch MTV or BET or CNN and driving on the highways of the good old U.S.A., YOU WERE BETTER OF STAYING AT HOME AND MAKING INCREMENTAL CHANGES. WE WOULD ALL BE BETTER FOR IT.

P.S., Anonymous, I love the civility of your response.

Anonymous said...

Dendir ,
Thank you for noting my civility. I always take the view that we ethiopians should be able to exchange differing views without accusing each other of being pro EPRDF or against the national interest.

I noted some contradictions,with respect, in your assertion. On one hand you state that this chap who i suspect, you do not know personnaly, is a brain drain on ethiopia on the other hand you assert with evegelancal certainty this chap will end as a gas attendant in the USA. There are many, i know, who went to the USA and lead sucessful lives even by American standards.

Furthermore i fail to comprehend why you are so fatalistic about the fate of ethiopia. It is one thing to support this regime or to be indifferent but if you oppose it and i assume you do for the simple reason that as someone living in the diaspora ( i assume you are) your conscience must be troubled by the hundred of our compatriots being detained in inhumane conditions for expressing their support for anti EPRDF views. If you start from this premise then how is that you beleive doing nothing is an option.

You may well be right there might not be one document that would destroy this regime. However i beleive if we persuade the electorate in the western countries in sufficent numbers we can bring pressure to bear on this regime and very offical's defection can be an additional armour in this effort to pressure the western countries. I know it takes time but we will prevail. The EPRDF did the same thing in Europe and USA when in opposition, and they succeeded, they do not have abilities that we do not have. We can talk about our differences once we establish a semblance of democracy in ethiopia. Th tragedy to me is that the last electins gave us hope and as i read what our leaders were requesting at the time, it was not the earth and could and should have been accomodated by the ruling regime. As for entering Parliament, we learn from history that those who appease oppressors end up being eated alive, see those who thought they can work with the dergue. I think you need to be fair on KINJIT and understand theur predicament as they were put in an impossible position by the EPRDF. I am not suggesting for a minutes that they did not commit strategic mistake but overall they were right and they did not deserve to be cajed, it is utterly deplorable.

Let me give two examples of where longterm sustain actions may bear fruit, ethio living in the UK played an important role (no one is suggeting they were the sole reason), in the UK government's decision to cut its aid to the ethiopian regime. it shows the western countries unlike the current regime in our country are responsive to public opinion. The other example is the work the South Africans living in the diaspora ( i knew some of them)dutifully did and carried out doing for many years and which, i am sure you agree, brought against all odds the democratisation of South Africa which is a beacon in Africa.

I genuinely want to understand how you can assert that this chap should have stayed in ethiopia to bring an incremental change in ethiopia, what incremental change?, he was asked to bring charges against our leaders, he either does it or faces the consequences, i really hope you are not suggesting he should have made himself available to be cajed.

I trust it was a Freudian slip but i noted your interest your comment when you said"Let us say you find a letter written by our PM ", i am sorry he is NOT my PM because he was not elected just as his predecessors were not my leaders.

Long live agere