Objections heard from defendants about the given extra days for witnesses hearing
While the court asked prosecutor whether the witnesses appeared for today’s hearing, it claimed that they didn’t despite efforts and suggested inspector Tewodros Adane from the Federal Police Commission to further explain the case. The inspector told the court that the time given was not enough. The prosecutor then claimed that one of the witnesses is in Gujizone, the other is attending spiritual treatment where there is holy water, whereas the third changed his address and all of them live in a place far away from the capital so that more time is needed.
Regarding the rest two, the prosecutor said that though they live here in the capital, Addis Ababa, they are not willing to come to court so that they are changing their addresses now and then. Theprosecutor reminded that 37 out of the total of 42 witnesses are presented so far to court to consider the seriousness of the case and its damage and give them more time.
lawyers of detainees presented their objection stating that the already heard witnesses were heard not because the demand from the prosecution but only by the push from the court, the prosecutor had been given enough time but failed to take advantage of it, today’s adjournment was the last chance they were given.
Fourth defendant Bekele Gerba on his part added to the objection; “it has been a year since we are detained. They are enjoying their sleep at home and making fun of us. How does a government that is able to detainthousands overnight find it difficult to bring five witnesses?”
Second defendant DejeneTafa was the other who lauded his objection: “the prosecutor said the two witnesses are here in the capital. Why are they not here until now? Our charge is a politically motivated charge from the very beginning and what we hearing now is political connotations. Just send us to prison with no reason as you detained us with no reason. Why are they wasting our time? Is that to pretend as if there is rule of law here? Guji is a place where gold is easily robbed. How can it be that difficult to find a person there and bring him here? Prosecutor should work as per the law unless they have another pressure from a third party. They present witnesses only following the pushes from the court. Have they brought any evidences from kebeles regarding witnesses address changes? No they haven’t. Theorders given from the court are not being respected. And you should deal with our case not like cadres but as professionals.”
Third defendant AddisuBulalaobjected similarly “why didn’t the prosecutor claim about the time given from the very beginning? Why now? The evidences from the kebele have not yet brought. The verdicts must be respected. The ones who are claiming for inappropriate more times are the ones who were torturing us at Maekelawi.”
Judges then noted that the prosecutor should work harder to fulfil court orders .they added, as a note for defendants that even if it does not sound fair to compare, the process of this particular case is faster compared to other cases. Theypromised to defendants that they would also give enough time when they present their defense testimony as well. Saying so, they gave verdict that police must either present the witnesses or bring a letter from kebele that states that witnesses left their former addresses within 15 days. They cancelled the request for more time from the side of the prosecutor to find the remaining witnesses.
Judges did also answer the request from lawyer Melkamu regarding his request to mark the coming adjournment the last one. They explained that the adjournment may not necessarily be the last as there is no such a thing and when any sound reason is there, adjournments might be given.
The next hearing is adjourned to Jan23, 2017.