Monday, July 16

Life In Prison

The courtroom was packed once again, and there seemed to be even more ferenji observers than usual. It seemed especially cruel to keep everyone in suspense for hours, considering the nature of the session, but wait we did--though the delay was not without its comic moments (when, for example, the phones of the plainclothes spies rang repeatedly, exposing them at once since the rest of us had to leave our phones, keys etc with the guards at the door!)

The prisoners were finally brought in after a 2.5 hour delay and the judges arrived a few minutes before noon; all defendants (and judges) were present. The judges concluded that ‘because most of the defendants are well educated and therefore able to identify the legal consequences of their actions, their sentence must reflect the severity of their decisions and actions’; however, as the defendants are charged with attempt to overthrow the Constitution (rather than completion of the act, which would permit the sentence of capital punishment) the 38 defendants (including those tried in absentia) were sentenced to life in prison.

Of the 9 who had chosen to defend, it was announced that their defense attorney 'had not proven relevant extenuating circumstances’: Berhanu Alemayou,Wedneh Jedi, Melaku Oncha and Mesfin Jabesa received 18 years imprisonment; Abiyot Wekjira ad Daniel Berihun received 15 years; Wenaksegad Zeleke was handed a 3 year sentence, and Dawit Fasil was sentenced to 1 year and six months. All defendants who received a lesser sentence were also denied the right to participate in politics for 5 years.

Both of the agencies charged were order to cease all operations—Serkalim Publishing Agency was ordered to pay a fine of ETB 120 000 and Sisaye Publishing, ETB 100 000.

Dr. Berhanu appeared particularly disgusted with the sentences and got up to leave the courtroom but, for the most part, the prisoners and family members seemed to be expecting nothing less and took the news accordingly. The prisoners left with their usual courage and deliberate cheer, exchanging grins and the “V” sign with friends and family members as they passed.

The road back from Kaliti to the city center was lined with more police than usual, and some were in full riot gear (masks and shields).

(Today’s session was nothing less than infuriating: To hear each Article of the Penal Code invoked as if it actually had meaning in this country, and to have to listen to the descriptions of post election violence as if the Independent Commission itself hadn’t ruled that government forces were responsible for the excessive force that lead to the deaths of 193 innocent civilians was too much… It makes one ill to witness such blatant manipulation of the truth and mockery of justice in a federal institution!

How long can this go on?!)


Anonymous said...

Somber Reflection

What you have tried to do with this blog is commendable. Information is power. But what I have been against is a blind hatred of one group and a blind support of another group.

case in point: The commission has allegedly said government forces were responsible for the excessive force that lead to the deaths of 193 innocent civilians. How does this has nothing to do with the charges brought against the Kality prisoners? The charges were focussing on the fact that their actions and ommissions were the instigating factor for the ensuing violence that erupted against which government forces used exceesive force. My point is the fact of excessive force by the government does not ncessarily exonerate any group if that group has instigated the violence? So, your argument and the other supportes argument should focus on one overriding fact, that is, arguing that the prisoners had never instigated any violence.

Anonymous said...

the person who just post a point above you are stupid animal part of the tplf gang.

Anonymous said...

what the hell are you trying to prove anon 3:57. If CUD leaders are in jail by law, all should be in jail meaning Meles who and his gang who used his excessive force.

Anonymous said...

Ethiopia is under occupation by a force funded and controlled by the West. The US has preached democray since Bush I in Ethiopia the motto than was "no democracy no aid",Bush Jr. made the same vow to the world on his second inaugiration. Yet it it has once again stood up to its record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite, which is religious bigotry, and dictatorship to maintain its intrest and Empire building. We should no be shocked by this action
Korea, Vietnam, Combodis, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Yogoslavia, Haiti, Chile Nicaragua, El Salvador et. and now the move is into Africa the new play ground with Somalia and Ethiopia leading the way. It had done the same in all the above countries by supporting, training and bankrolling dictators. We need to wake up and liberate our country from modern day colonialism disguised as "Democracy". We have to realize the struggle is serious and start making honest and full commitments otherwise it is not only that we have failed our leaders that where elected but all our forefathers and our identity as Ethiopians.

Anonymous said...

GOD bless you Ferenji. You did a hero job for our nation and for humanity and human rights. We are proud of you, not only as a peace loving friend of Ethiopians but also as a true reflection of being Human - you deserve as most of us are less. You know by far woyane's indepth and hence try to use their garbage comments to a "happy hour" time of smile and mockery.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

For those you who applauded the PM Meles for giving coerced freedom to CUD prisoners of conscious. I want to forgive PM meles for crime he committed against to our leaders and the people of Ethiopia. Also I want to give him a second chance but I need to apply the standard of humility as it is applied in all humanity. I want him to feel HUMILITY. What is humility?

“It is a perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble” (From Dr BOB good decent people page 222)

Does a known reckless double headed Tyrant qualify for standard of humility to be applied? I personally believe do not think so. Everyone should be a subject according to his deeds. I hope I am alive to see him hanged at mesqel square.

What do you believe ?