ADDIS ABABA – Police on Friday have presented more evidence against former officials of TPLF, ruling party of Tigray region, who are accused of treason.
Sebhat Nega, Ambassador Abadi Zemo, Solomon Kidane (PhD) were among the nine former officials of TPLF that appeared in court for third times on the day.
The defendants are charged with attacking national defense force bases in North Ethiopia, and their materials, and sharing sensitive information to Tigray special force.
They are also accused of involvement in giving training youth to incite violence in different parts of the country – a mission, police said, was led by Seyoum Mesfin, former Foreign Minister of Ethiopia killed during a shootout between federal army and his security last month.
During Friday’s session, police told the court that their investigation team has gathered testimony of 113 witnesses.
They also presented report that contains an estimated loss at least five major public institutions sustained due to TPLF forces’ attack on their infrastructure and services.
These institutions are Ethio telecom, Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Agency, Ethiopian Airlines, and Dedebit Microfinance Institution
The investigation team is still looking into various crimes, said Police describing it as complex that needed a thorough investigation. Police have asked additional 14 days for thee team who are on the ground to carry out their probing.
Lawyer of the suspects opposed the additional day request by the police.
“They were already given enough time to investigate and brought not much additional evidence,” one of the four lawyers said. “We don’t expect any different this time too,” he said, “and, therefore, the court should not grant them the additional days”.
The additional request is just a pretext to prolong the suspects stay in prison, said the lawyer who also asked the court to allow one his 86-year-old clients, Sebhat, to get medical follow up from his personal doctor at Addis Hiwot referral hospital.
The defendants’ lawyers have also requested the court, again, that each of their clients should know their charges specifically as it would make arguing their case challenging.
More days granted
Police, however, said they have already informed specific charges to the suspects during the previous court session. They, however, should know that there are also crimes committed in group and should be charged accordingly, police argued.
Police have also opposed a request by one of the defendants to get medical treatment from his personal doctor saying security will be an issue while transporting him to and from the specific hospital.
The judge, who presided over the Federal First Instance Arada Court Criminal Bench, said decision regarding medical request will be given in the next court session.
The judge also said police have made a compelling reason to get the additional day request and granted 14 more days for investigation.
The remaining two files
On the same day, the court has looked into two other files involving the cases of Abay Weldu and Keriya Ibrahim, consecutively. In both case, the court has granted 14 additional days requested by the police for further investigations.
The main arguing point during the court sessions were the nature of the charges which the lawyers see as similar as the charges brought against the defendants in Sebhat Nega and Co file.
They argued cases should not be seen in three different files and have requested the court to allow them defend cases of their clients in one file.
The court rejected the lawyers’ request saying it would be very difficult to manage the cases if all cases put into one file.
By Mhret G/kristos