ADDIS ABABA – A judge has denied bail request from former nine Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) officials’ second appearance in court on Friday.
Sebhat Nega, Ambassador Abadi Zemo, Solomon Kidane (Ph.D.) and Kidsan Nega have been among the former TPLF officials brought before the court of law on Friday, January 29, 2021.
The suspects are charged with carrying out attacks on the national defence force base in Tigray, stealing defense equipment, and supporting Tigray Special Force who fought the federal army, among others.
They are also accused of organising youngsters to use them to incite violence in various parts of the country – an activity led by Seyoum Mesfin, who was killed by the national defense during the war.
Police said they have taken testimony from 15 witnesses and video evidence, which were submitted to the court.
The case remains complex and needs a thorough investigation, Police said. A federal police investigation team has already been deployed to Tigray to probe the situation on the ground.
The team is also waiting for a reply for a letter they wrote to organizations negatively affected by their acts such as Airports Enterprise to know the extent of the destruction.
Following this, the police asked the court to grant them 14 additional days.
The suspects, however, denied the alleged crimes brought against them. Their lawyers, who asked the court to stop the police from referring their clients as criminals, also said each of their clients should know what they are specifically accused of.
The lawyers also asked the court to release them on bail – a request the police strongly opposed saying, if the defendants were released, they would compromise the investigation.
The judge, who presided over the Federal First Instance Arada Court Criminal Bench, has denied the defendant’s bail request while granting the investigation team an additional 14 days of investigation. The judge also ordered the police not to call the suspects as criminals.
Abay and Co
On the same day, Abay Woldu, former President of Tigray, and Abraham Tekeste (Ph.D.), Ex-Minister of Finance, and other seven former officials appeared in the Arada Branch of the Federal First Instance Court.
The suspects were charged with, they were trained differently younger’s of the country for ethnic and religion based violence and war.
In addition, police said Abraham has helped to loot gold and money from Ethiopian Commercial Bank and transfer them into Dedebit microfinance. He also transported a portion of them to the war zone and handed them out to his family and others.
Police said more time is needed to probe the impact of their misdeed on the ground and informed the court a federal police and investigation team has already been deployed to do that.
Following this, police asked the court to grant them 14 additional days.
The suspects denied the alleged crimes again on Friday and asked the court to release them on bail.
The judge, who presided over the Federal First Instance Arada Court Criminal Bench has denied the defendant’s bail request, granted the investigation team an additional 14 days of investigation.
By Mhret G/kristos