ADDIS ABEBA – Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba and sixteen others have appeared in court on Monday – two days after prosecutors filed terrorism charges against them.
The activist turned opposition politician was arrested in June amid the widespread unrest that followed the assassination of popular Oromo musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa.
Jawar and 23 others, including opposition leader Bekele Garba, face charges relating to the violation of anti-terrorism laws, telecom fraud laws and firearms laws, the attorney general’s office said in a statement on social media. Four of the accused have been charged in absentia.
On Saturday, Jawar’s lawyer dismissed the charges as baseless.
During his appearance on Monday, Jawar also accused the ruling party of arresting opponents ahead of landmark elections that were due this year, but have now been postponed to next year.
Jawar and the other defendants are scheduled to appear back in court on Thursday.