Government Failed to Present Suspects Before the Court: OLF

By Staff Reporter   

OLF-EthiopiaJuly 24, 2020 ( -- The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) said its leaders and members, who were charged in the killing of the popular Oromo Singer Hachalu Hundessa and instigating subsequent violence, did not appear before the court yet.

According to the Ethiopian Criminal Law, suspects must appear before a court within 24 hours of their arrest. “None of them appeared before any court even though the suspects were detained 15 days ago,” the spokesperson for the OLF Tolera Adeba told VOA Amharic Service.

“Neither members of the party’s leadership nor their families do not know the whereabouts of the suspects,” said Tolera who failed to mention how many of the suspects did not appear before the court.

The suspects are of executive and central committee members of the OLF, Tolera said. It is not clear if Dawd Ibssa, Chairman of the party was apprehended.

The government of Ethiopia disclosed the arrest of more than 7,000 suspects, largely members of the OLF and Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and government officials, including the Mayor of the Shashemene city, for alleged involvement in the recent violence that left more than 200 civilians killed.

Oromia Security Bureau Head Jebril Mohammed dismissed the OLF’s claim. “The whereabouts of all suspects are known,” he said.

According to the Security Head, there is no suspect who did not appear before the court as the investigation is underway and charges are compiled.

The suspects include those people who were directly involved in the violence, collaborators, and organizers, Jebril stated.

“The suspects were arrested over the loss of lives and body parts as well as the destruction of public and private properties. Their arrest has nothing to do with their membership to any political party.”

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said it has deployed a team of experts to probe into human rights violations that occurred during the recent violence across Oromia towns and Addis Ababa.

The commission said it is also making systematic follow up on the handling of suspects in detention centers and paid a visit to Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba who are prime suspects of the violence.

The commission said the handling of prisoners in the detention centers is generally OK but requested that the conditions of Eskinder Nega, the chairman of the Balderas for Genuine Democracy, be improved.

The commission in a statement said it will probe the human rights violations that were committed in 16 towns of Oromia and will issue preliminary reports shortly.

According to the commission, the prisoners have confirmed the absence of maltreatment in the detention centers but express fear of contracting coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the death toll from recent clashes between Konso and Ale ethnic groups due to land ownership right in Southern Ethiopia has reached 17. More than 20,000 people are reportedly displaced due to the conflict.

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