The Court has started hearing the witnesses against Gurmessa Ayano et al. after declining the request of the prosecutor of for a closed session: November 16 Hearing

Dejene Tafa refused to sign on OLF program, he told to the court “It is not mine; I won’t sign on it as if it is found in my home.”

The Court has started hearing the witnesses for prosecution in a file of Gurmessa Ayano et al (22 persons). The request of the prosecutor for a closed session for the security of its witnesses is declined.

Today on November 16th, the federal high court 4th bench heard four witnesses for prosecution in the morning and afternoon session. In the morning the court heard material fact witnesses against the 8th defendant, Getu Girma and the 12th defendant, Tesfaye Liben. The witness, Tekle Gebrhiwot has told to the court he resides in Addis Ababa and he is currently unemployed. He said to the court he didn’t know the defendants before he was called to witness by the police and he failed to identify them in person in the court.


The eyewitness told to the court that he has witnessed that while the 8th and 12th defendants logging in into their Facebook page, print out the text on that page and signed in the print out willingly in the Federal Police Commission Forensic Investigation Dep’t (Ma’ekelawi) office number 31 on Feb 03, 2016.

“I think, it is conversation with bodies which are the government don’t wish for and their content were dissenting against the government” said the witness when he is asked about the content of the text. Even though he has been arguing that the articles are prepared in Amharic and Afaan Oromo previously, he preferred to stick with Amharic in the cross-examination.

He said that he went to the police department after receiving a call from Inspector Mulugeta. The prosecutor gave up on the next witness Mr Woldegebriel Wale in a reason that the witness will give of evidence is the same.

In the afternoon session the court heard witnesses against the 2th defendant, Dejene Tafa and the 3th defendant, Addis Bulala.

The court first heard the witness, Zemenu Beyene who has observed while the house of Dejene Tafa was raided by the police. The witness refused to give his address by his reckoning that he was intimated. He told to the court currently he is unemployed He was picked up by a car from where he was and went to Mr Dejene residence after a call from Chief Inspector Assefa.

According to the witness the police didn’t possesses a search warrant while it was raiding the residence of Dejene Tafa. CDs, Mobile Phone, books, Magazines and telephone notebooks were found on the raid. The witness expound to the court the defendant confirmed and signed on the list to verify it is found in their home.

The witness continued “At last, OLF’s pamphlet and Program is found in small store. These materials started a disagreement between the police and the defendant. Ato Dejene asserted the materials aren’t possessed by him. The police insisted him to sign on them but he refused.” The witnesses explained to the court that Ato Dejene stick with not to do while the eyewitnesses signed on the materials.

Dejene Tafa

The witnessed confirmed on the cross-examination he has been serving as an eyewitness in other three files and police has been giving him a ride after the hearings. Even though the prosecutor told to the court that he gave up on the next witnesses because the witnesses will explain the same thing which is already heard, the court demanded to hear one more witness to get more understanding about the matter. The next witness, Teshome Woldesilassie is also unemployed and lives in Addis Ababa. He has explained to the court he has received a call from the police, told to be an eyewitness and picked up by a police car.  Similarly, He told to the court Ato Dejene’s refusal to put his signature in the materials the police claimed it is found in his home. And also he confirmed to the court police didn’t possesses search warrant while raiding the home of the defendant.

The court heard next was a witness called Selam Wudneh. She told to the court she has witnessed while police raided the home of the third defendant Addis Bulala.  She is living in Nifas Silk SubCity, Woreda 10. She told to the court she was one of the higher officials of the wordea at the time the incident happened. She could identify the defendant in the court.

She told to the court Laptop, CDs, Articles, Books and mobile phones were found on the raid. And also the witness explained that OLF program and its flag wrapped in a paper were found inside a cloth bag. Primarily, Ato Addisu refused to sign with a ground the flag and the program aren’t possessed by him.  But the eyewitnesses convinced him his signature is not verifying the ownership but is only about where it is found.

The witness authenticated that the police possessed search warrant at the time of the raid but it was happening in the evening after 6pm. When the witness asked about the color of OLF flag she couldn’t find out other than mentioning it is red. She was asked “How could you say the flag is found there?” in the cross-examination she replied “I have seen it on the TV at this time.”

When the prosecutor asked to bring the flag if it is handed over to the court as an exhibit in case the witness identify it he told to the court it isn’t attached as an exhibit.

The court adjourned for November 17 to hear the remaining witnesses for prosecution.


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