Witnesses for prosecution against two defendants in Gurmessa Ayano et al file are heard: November 24 Hearing

The court is 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. Today on November 25th 2016 witnesses are testified against the 6th defendant Gelana Negra and 14th Dereje Merga.

The prosecutor told to the court the first witness, Zerihun Tamru will be testified against the 6th defendant Gelana Negera and registered the fact that at 10:00am on March third 2016 Zerihun has eyewitnesses when the defendant make a statement with his own consent at the federal police department.

The witness started his testimony after telling the court he is a chair of Arada Sub city, Woreda 05 residents’ Forum. He told the court at 10:00am on March third, 2016 he went to federal police department. He continued that while he to the office only the defendant, the interrogator and one more eyewitness were there. He added that he and the other witness put their signature in a blank paper which ready for making a statement, and then they saw while the defendant make the statement freely. The witness admitted that the eyewitnesses are not told in how many papers the defendant make his statement and they haven’t seen when the whole statement read out for him before he put his signature in cross-examination. The witness was able to identify and show the 6th defendant among other defendants.

The next witness was testified against the 14th defendant Dereje Merga. The prosecutor registered the fact that to the court the next witness, Gadissa Tadesse will explain how the defendant received money through him.

The witness, Gadissa Tadesse told the court the 14th defendant is his friend and before long ago, they were teaching in same a High school. The witness told to the court In 2007 E.C. his defendant friend told him, he couldn’t receive money and asked him to receive the money on behalf of him using his own account. He agreed and has received $500 sent from Kenya and he has given to Dereje by withdrawing the money.  He told to the court he didn’t remember from whom the money is transferred to his account. When he is asked about for what purpose the money is sent to dereje, he answered at that time dereje was doing his second degree so that, he think the money is sent for Dereje’s educational cost.

The lawyer of 1-4th defendants, Lawyer Abdul-Jabbar was cross-examining the witnesses since the lawyer of the 6th and 14th defendants; Lawyer Wondimu Ibsa didn’t appear before court. The court fixed the next day (November 25th, 2016) to hear the remaining witnesses for prosecution.
The court asked the four defendants who has filed their complaints about human rights abuses in prison, if there is any improvement how the prison is treating them. The defendants answered there are some improvements but still they are not allowed to be visited by their families. On yesterday’s trial the 14th defendant Dereje Merga who attended the hearing while he was handcuffed, today it was observed while the warders unchained the handcuff with a stone before he enters the courtroom.

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