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Ethiopian activist-turned-politician amongst those charged with terrorism

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The Ethiopian court on Friday, 18 September 2020, charged 24 individuals, including activist-turned-politician Jawar Siraj Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Hamza Adnan and others, with terrorism.

The suspects were detained last July for their alleged involvement in the killing of more than 200 people and destruction of millions of dollars’ worth of properties. This was in a targeted attack in the Oromia region of the country.

The religious and ethnic-based attacks on ethnic Amhara people were committed by ethnic Oromo youth, otherwise called Qeerroo, frequently after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018. Police accused Jawar of leading the Qeerroo to mass killings of Amharas who live in Oromia region, where Ahmed belongs to.

According to the Office of the Attorney General, the file also includes Dejene Gutema of Oromia Media Network, Birhanemeskel Abebe and Tsegaye Ararsa, who are charged in absentia with terrorism.

The Federal Prosecutors filed multiple charges consisting of 10 separate charges against the defendants at Federal Supreme Court; Lideta Branch Criminal Bench on Wednesday, 16 September 2020, under the file number 260215, the Attorney General Office said.

The prosecutors accused the 24 individuals of breaching Ethiopia’s 2004 criminal code article 240 on allegations of inciting ethnicity and religion-based communal violence, as well as allegations of violating Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 1176/2020, Anti-Telecom Fraud Proclamation 761/2012, and Firearm Administration and Control Proclamation 1177/2020, the Attorney General’s Office said.

The defendants are expected to appear before the Federal Supreme Court, Lideta Branch Criminal Bench, on Monday, 21 September 2020, to receive the charge sheet, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

-APA

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