The court has been hearing the witnesses for prosecution against Bekelle Gerba and other OFC leaders, Gurmessa Ayano et al (22 persons) has been charged with Anti-Terrorism proclamation for two weeks fixed for testifying witnesses. Today, on the last day of the fixed hearing days, the prosecutor asked the court to obtain more days because the remaining witnesses didn’t appear on this day. The prosecutor told the court out of the remaining non-testified witnesses four of them have received issued bench warrants and they were told to appear before the court on phone repeatedly but they failed to appear. The prosecutor asked the court to pass an order for police to arrest and bring them to court. The prosecutor asked for more hearing days for other 19 witnesses for prosecution since they were not found on the address they gave.
Lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told the court stating the fact that the prosecutor failed to bring the witnesses in two weeks provided and he didn’t believe the prosecutor will bring more witnesses in the future. There was enough time to find the witnesses because seven months have passed since the defendants are charged. The lawyer asked the court not to give more adjournment for hearing
witnesses for prosecution since there is no any chance to get witnesses searched and lost. To hear the four witnesses who failed to appear before the court, if the police can bring them the lawyer asked for a short adjournment.
Lawyer Wondimu ebsa after endorsing the points raised by lawyer Ameha, He told the court the prosecutor couldn’t bring witnesses in the given enough time and also he shared with the court that, he smells some fishy elements on the coming witnesses. The lawyer, Wondimu Ebsa said giving more times to wait witnesses not found in their address will disorder judiciary system
- Other lawyers shared the ideas of Lawyers Ameha and Wondimu regarding the witnesses failed to appear because they are not willing to be testified and even it is unknown they will testify against which defendant so they objected against adjourning the hearing to wait for them and asked the court to pass its decision. The court decided the following after hearing both sides. For the four witnesses who failed to appear before court after receiving the issued bench warrant they should be arrested and brought to court within the criminal procedure in the time the court will fix.
- Regarding 19 witnesses who are not found in their addresses, They may change their address they gave to the police. For the sake of serving justice, because there are defendants that any witnesses are not testified against them, Police should search and bring them in the next fixed day and if they are not found the court strictly ordered the police, they should get a certificate from their Kebelle about their disappearance.
[N.B. it is remembered that in the fixed two weeks to hear witnesses, the prosecutor didn’t brought any witness against the 4th defendant, the vice president of OFC, Bekelle Gerba]
Lawyer wondimu asked the court to help the defendants to get the copy of their charge because the previous charge they have received is burnt down in the kilinto fire. The judges accepted their complaint and told them to get the copy from the registrar of the court.
The court fixed the days from December 27–29th 2016 to hear the remaining witnesses for prosecution. And if all the witnesses are not testified and completed the days January 5-7th 2017 are held.