By Staff Reporter
September 20, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Jawar Mohammed, the alleged architect of the recent violence in Ethiopia, and 23 other co-defendants face terrorism charges, according to the Ethiopian government.
An activist turned politician Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Hamza Adnen and others were arrested early July for alleged instigation of deadly violence in parts of Addis Ababa and the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
At least 200 people were killed in targeted attacks against Orthodox Christians and non ethnic Oromos during the prolonged violence that occurred after the killing of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa.
Oromia region’s officials claimed less than 180 people were killed in July’s violence and about 100 of them were ethnic Oromos.
If convicted, Jawar Mohammed and co-defendants could serve life imprisonment.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Office of the Attorney General also charged Dejene Gutema of Oromia Media Network, Birhanemeskel Abebe and Tsegaye Ararsa with terrorism.
The Federal Prosecutors filed multiple charges consisting of ten separate charges against the defendants at Federal Supreme Court; Lideta Branch Criminal Bench.
The prosecutors accused the 24 individuals of breaching Ethiopia’s 2004 criminal code article 240 on allegations of inciting ethnicity and religion based communal violence; as well as allegations of violating Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 1176/2020, Anti-Telecom Fraud Proclamation 761/2012, and Firearm Administration and Control Proclamation 1177/2020, the attorney general’s office said.
The defendants are expected to appear before Federal Supreme Court, Lideta Branch Criminal Bench on Monday, September 21, 2020 to receive the charge sheet.
Jawar has huge support among youth in the Oromia region and returned to Ethiopia after Abiy took office and urged exiles to come home amid sweeping political reforms that led to him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
Jawar has become fiercely critical of the Ethiopian leader, most recently over the postponement of the general elections once planned for August because of the coronavirus pandemic.
About 7000 ethnic Oromo youth otherwise called Qeerroo who are supporters of Jawar have been detained after the July violence for alleged involvement in the massacre of more than 200 people.
Meanwhile, High level Ethiopian officials on Saturday paid a visit to the country’s Benishangul Gumuz state where several people were killed in targeted attacks.
The government officials led by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen promised that all the perpetrators of the killings will be brought to book.
The deputy Prime Minister, after the visit to Bulen and Wunbra districts in the Metekel Zone of the regional state, where the killings occurred, vowed that the government will take “strongest measures” possible to punish the perpetrators.
Reports reveal that at least 89 ethnic Amhara, Agew and Shinasha people were killed in targeted attacks in the region at the border areas in western Ethiopia.
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