ADDIS ABEBA – Former intelligence Chief Getachew Assefa was finally charged in absentia over alleged human rights abuses and corruption.
Getachew was the head of the Ethiopia National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) until June 2018, when he was removed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The office of the attorney general said in a statement Tuesday that he was charged along with other 25 former officials and employees of the NISS with similar offences.
The other three top officials charged include Atsebha Gidey, Assefa Belay, and Shishay Leul. All of them were charged in absentia at the Lideta Federal High Court, said Federal Attorney General’s statement.
“The 26 suspects have been charged with a total of 46 criminal charges, with 22 of them currently in custody while the other four individuals including Getachew Assefa’s cases will be tried in absentia”, it added.
The defendants are suspected of gross human rights violations such as torture, forced confessions, sodomy, rape, electrocution, and arbitrary detention of people including in secret facilities.
Four of those charged, including Getachew, are missing; the charge sheet says they are hiding in the Tigray region.
The rest are in custody, and have not yet entered a plea.