(And this is only the beginning. These defendants have so far been ordered to defend themselves against the first charge only. There are six remaining. There are also dozens of other defendants who await ruling.)
The defendants were brought in this morning at 10:20am. Considering the delay tactics of the past week, none of us were expecting the judges to get through the witness summary, let alone make a ruling. We were very wrong.
After the summary was read, there was a 10 minute break. Then the ruling was given: 23 defendants were ordered to defend themselves against the charge of treason. With his last word—before it was even clear that he had finished his sentence--Judge Adil turned abruptly and rushed out the back exit, with the other two following closely.
It was obvious that no one, least of all the defendants, expected such an outcome. The family members received the news with a mixture of anger, fatigue and sadness. “Ayzuachehu! Ayzuachehu!” rang out from both sides of the room as the prisoners, with their unwavering courage, tried to reassure their loved ones and encourage them to be strong. Court resumes tommorrow.
What was particularly striking about today’s session was the change in tone. Judge Adil far exceeded expectations with his particularlyly eloquent summary and prosecutor’s demeanor (reminding us all, that the defendants could, in fact, also be charged for conspiracy under Article 257 of the penal code, but would not be). This drastic change in vernacular (that began and ended with the reading of the ruling) seems more than a little odd; and the phrases and wording seemed a little too familiar…Call me crazy, but it actually sounded strikingly similar to Meles himself!
Perhaps it was.