The Federal High Court at Lideta branch 4th criminal bench downgraded the terrorism charge presented against journalist Getachew Shiferaw to criminal law article 257/a/d/ which is for provocation and preparation of incitement by writing.
The 4th criminal bench of the high court ruling was heard on 22th Dec 2016 after evaluating and examining the prosecutors evidences presented against the defendant who was charged with terrorism for violating the bogus Anti-Terrorism Proclamation article 7(1) that states participation in a terrorist organization or in terrorism activities in anyways.
Negere Ethiopia Newspaper Editor-In-Chief Getachew Shiferaw was accused of having communications with members and leaders of the outlawed Ginbot-7 opposition group using social media specially Facebook and via phone calls.
However, the court downgraded the terrorism charge to criminal charges under the criminal code saying that the evidences presented against the defendant does not show that the defendant commits terrorism activities in a way the charge has presented, hence ruled over the defendant to defend acts put on article 257/a/d of the criminal law.
The evidences presented against Getachew are gathered from his social media and phone conversations. As the court indicated in its ruling, the defendant is free from terrorism charges, but some evidences show that Getachew was inciting the public by writing. Accordingly, the defendant needs to defend himself of such incitements.
Following the ruling, Getachew has requested bail as the criminal act he is going to defend does allow such right. The court ordered the defendant to present his bail request on written forms and also to submit his defense witnesses list and adjourned the hearing to Dec 28, 2016.
It has been over a year since journalist Getachew Shiferaw incarcerated.