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News: Jawar et.al threaten to quit hearing attendance until court decisions are respected; commence two days hunger strike in solidarity with Tigray

Left to right: Bekele Gerba, Jawar Mohammed and Hamza Borana

By Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, May 26, 2021- The defendants on Jawar Mohammed’s file told the Federal High Court Lideta Branch, First Constitutional and Anti-terrorism Bench that they will no longer appear in court to follow their hearing. 21 out of the 24 defendants on the file announced that they will join in on the three day long fasting that has been held by the people of Tigray since yesterday. The 21 defendants who appeared in court today expressed opposition to ‘mass killings and injustices in Tigray and across Oromia’ by holding a one minute prayer in honor of the victims.

The Federal High Court Lideta Branch, First Constitutional and Anti-terrorism Bench today saw the case of the defendants on Jawar Mohammed’s file. The court was set to hold the hearing that was directed to regarding the conduct of witness hearing which was referred from the Federal Supreme Court, 2nd Appeals Bench on May 19, 2021. 

The defendants presented their requests in writing, detailing the malpractices in the justice system that led them to request a two years long appointment until the next hearing.  At the last hearing the defendants requested the court to postpone their hearing until after the election. Jawar Mohammed, the first defendant on the file said “Our trials should continue after the election. You might as well adjourn the hearing until 2023 or 2025.”

The defendants listed down the case of many other detainees who are held under police custody despite court order for their release. In the letter, the defendants recalled incidents such as the execution of detainees, maltreatment of prisoners in detention and extrajudicial killings while also commending the efforts made by the court to maintain the rights of suspects. The defendants pointed out what they described as the inability of law enforcement institutions by saying “We no longer believe that court orders will be honored by the executive bodies.” the letter read, adding, “Maybe if the country regains peace after the election in two years time, we ask the court to postpone our hearing until then.” 

The prosecutor on its part explained to the court that it did not prepare for today’s hearing on the conduct of witness hearing after receiving the orders to conduct the hearing at the federal high court.    The court ordered the prosecutor to submit the threats it claimed were posed on its witnesses in   writing by June 7, 2021. The court gave an alternative appointment for June 17, 2021 to pass a decision on the matter. AS



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