News: Oromia Police fail to bring four senior OLF leaders to justice for habeas corpus hearing

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By Natnael Fite @NatieFit

Addis Ababa – Oromia Police in Burayu, Oromia Regional State Special Area surrounding Finfinne, failed to bring four senior opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) officials to a district court for an adjourned hearing for review habeas corpus request from the defense team. The four defendants: Michael Bekele (Boran), Lammi Begna, Dawit Abdeta and Gada Gabisa who are in the custody of the Oromia police, were therefore unable to attend the hearing, according to the team of lawyers who spoke with Addis standard.

According to the legal team, the request was made on June 13 of this year. Subsequently, the district court had ordered the police to present the defendants on Wednesday, June 22, to hear their request, however, the police did not bring the aforementioned defendants to court.

The court once again ordered the police from Burayu town to present the defendants for the next session. The court also ruled that the Oromia Supreme Court Prosecutor and the Oromia Police Commission should explain why the individuals are incarcerated till date and what charges they have against them, if any, during a hearing adjourned until July 4, 2022.

Earlier, prosecutors dismissed the case of Michael Bekele (Boran) on the grounds that no charges had been brought against him for almost two years while he remains in police custody, the team said. defense. Before two weeks, Michael was seriously ill and was taken to Federal Police Hospital and Lagahar Hospital having not received adequate treatment, his family said. Addis Standard that his illness has since worsened. His sister, Silge Bekele, said Addis Standard that Michael was taken to hospital where there was no sign of improvement so he was returned to the police station where he is currently being held.

The other two detainees, Lammi Begna and Dawit Abdata were arrested at the end of June 2020, following the assassination of prominent Oromo artist, Hachalu Hundessa. They followed their cases in the district court. After reviewing their cases, the Oromia Supreme Court dismissed the terrorism charges they faced and ordered their release on bail as early as November last year. However, on November 20, security forces re-arrested them shortly after their release. On December 25, for the second time, the Oromia Supreme Court ordered the police to release them, but instead they were taken to Sabata police station and detained. The police continued to detain them in different places.

The fourth defendant, Gada Gabisa, remained in custody although no charges were brought against him and no investigation was conducted.

Last week, Lami Begna’s brother, student Hundaol Begna, was killed by government security forces in the town of Naqamte. Talk to Addis Standard, Firaol Begna, his brother, said Hundaol was a high school student living in Naqamte town renting a house when he was killed by government security forces on the night of June 17. “The information we have is that on Friday, from 11 a.m. (local time), there were gunshots in Naqamte. There are others injured, but he was the only one killed,” he said.

The fourth defendant, Gada Gabisa, remained in custody although no charges were brought against him and no investigation was conducted. He too did not receive adequate medical treatment for the illness from which he continued to suffer while in detention, Addis Standard learned.

In May this year, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) conducted an investigation into the jailed senior OLF officials and published its findings. The rights body concludes that many OLF leaders and members have been “illegally imprisoned”. The commission’s work reviewed those who have been released on bail, those whose cases have been closed, those who have no charges, and those against whom the prosecutor has filed no charges. “However, there were individuals imprisoned for months up to two years, and others were allegedly abused and even beaten during their stay, resulting in bodily harm and health problems.” and said that “persons unlawfully imprisoned should be released immediately.” AS


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