Court in Bahir Dar Sentences 3 to Life in Prison over Officials’ Killing

ADDIS ABABA – A Regional Supreme Court in Bahir Dar has sentenced three people to life and 28 others to lengthy prison terms over the killings of the top officials of Amhara regional state of Ethiopia.

The President of the region, Ambachew Mekonnen and two other officials were killed in a failed “coup bid” against the administration in Amhara regional state in July, 2019.

In its session on Tuesday morning, the region’s supreme Court in Bahir Dar also ordered 29 others to serve various jail times, as per a state media AMC report.

A total of 55 suspects were detained on suspicion of plotting that attack on the high-level government officials. About 20 of them were released without facing charges.

Four other suspects have been acquitted.

The remaining 31 were found guilty of having a role in the killings of the regional officials in the charges filed under the name of Capt. Memar Getenet who was charged in absentia.

AMC’s report says the court sentenced the 31 convicts after considering the defense team’s petition to reduce charges including their clients health conditions, responsibilities to their families, service to the defense forces.

The court ordered three defendants, Capt. Memar, Belaysew Sefinew and Liknaw Yihune, to serve life in prison in absentia.

Three other defendants, Mulugeta Tsegaye, Ali Hassen and Fikadu Mitiku have also been sentenced for 18 years while two defendants, Adugna Worku and Tadesse Eshete, get 17 year in prison.

The court also slapped the remaining 23 defendants with various prison terms ranging from 16-and-half to 15 years jail time.

The court also issued an order for the police to arrest the three convicts sentenced in their absentia and hand them over to prison officials.

The court sentenced the defendants almost two years after a deadly attack, authorities said was led by the then Amhara region’s security chief Brig Gen Asaminew Tsige, on high-level officials of the region in Bahir Dar city on July 23, 2019.

The three officials including Ambachew later died of their wounds.

Several hours later, the then chief of staff of the Ethiopian army, Gen. Seare Mekonnen, was also killed by his bodyguard in Addis Ababa. He died while trying to prevent the coup attempt against the administration, officials said.

The bodyguard, identified as Mesfin Tigabu, was apprehended immediately while Brig Gen Asaminew, was killed two days later.

In June, 2021, a Federal High Court in the capital found Mesfin guilty of assassinating the chief of staff and sentenced him to life in prison.