This morning, stern-looking policemen in tan uniforms lined the road all the way from the federal prison to the High Court in Kaliti, where two local wagons, a white police SUV and a blue-camoflauged federal wagon filled with armed soldiers sat outside the gates, clearly marking the resumption of the trial. The entrance line was unusually long today, and included approximately 20 foreign observers waiting under the grey sky twith the rest o register and submit their IDs.
Once all were admitted, not an empty seat remained in the court room. The defendants looked well and were obviously overjoyed to see one another after the long recess-- Bertukan especially seemed to enjoy greeting every individual with a kiss before returning to her seat..
After an hour and a half delay, the session began and lasted less than an hour—Judge Adil quickly announced that the court would be adjourned until March 5th, apparently to allow for 3 things
1. The translation into Amharic of the press conference given by Hailu Shawel shortly after the elections to the American Press Club
2. The translation of all written documents into Amharic, apparently to be provided to all defendants at the next hearing
3. To allow for the compilation of all election results and reports from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE)
A low, collective moan was heard from the bench of the defendants at this announcement, before they were ushered out of the court room and driven away in two separate buses before the smiling, waving crowd of spectators that had gathered outside to show their support.
(I tried to discreetly take a picture, and though I waited for an opportunity when no policeman was looking, a man in plain clothes rushed over to a nearby policeman. I am not sure what was said but both men gestured to me and then the policeman went over to speak with two other armed men...plain-clothes security??? I didn’t stick around to find out the consequences of my actions.)