Alleged Killer of Hachalu Hundessa Pleads Not Guilty

By Staff Reporter

Hachalu-HundessaOctober 14, 2020 ( -- The alleged killer of a prominent Ethiopian Oromo singer, Tilahun Yami, has pleaded not guilty, has learned.

Two months ago, Tilahun pleaded guilty that he had killed the singer Hachalu Hundessa whose death sparked ethnic unrest that left at least 200 people dead in late June and early July.

The Oromia police chief said 145 civilians and 11 security personnel died in Oromia region alone after the singer’s death. Ten people were killed in the capital Addis Ababa.

The other three co-defendants of Tilahun Yami namely Kebede Gemechu, Abdi Alemayehu and Lamrot Kemal pleaded not guilty too during the court hearing at the Federal High Court on Wednesday.

The suspects were charged under terrorism law and the first, second, and third suspects said they could not afford to hire lawyers while no attorney was willing to represent the fourth suspect.

In a briefing on Wednesday, Attorney General Gedion Timothewos said the government filed charges against more than 3,000 individuals suspected of having links for deaths and property damages that occurred following the killing of Artist Hachalu Hundessa.

Ethnic Amhara and Orthodox Christians were major victims of the targeted attacks after the artist’s death. Opposition groups accused the government of failing or unwilling to stop the targeted attacks at the earliest time.

Hachalu’s songs focused on the rights of the country's Oromo people, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

Gedion said the office of the attorney general has adjudicated more than 12,000 files in the first quarter of this Ethiopian fiscal year.

He further said his office received a total of 12,239 files and was able to resolve 12,037 of them. Artist Hachalu was shot dead last June 30 in Addis Ababa at a place called Gelan Condominium.

According to the Attorney General, the government has recovered 412 million Birr from individuals convicted of economic crime in the first quarter of this Ethiopian budget year.

Gedion said the Attorney General has changed the way it penalizes economic criminals who will be punishable not only by incarceration but also denying them the fruits of their crimes.

“We learned that those who were convicted of economic crimes must lose the ill-gotten gains,” the Attorney General added.

The attorney general has established a new directorate that exclusively focuses on recovering ill-gotten gains.

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