Home | News    Sunday 29 November 2009

Ethiopia: Prosecutor seeks death penalty for 40 coup plotters

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

November 28, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — Chief prosecutor in Ethiopia’s coup plot case has asked death penalty against a group of 40 people, who are convicted of conspiring a coup plot allegedly backed by a US- based Ethiopian economist teaching at Pennsylvania university.

Last week, court in Ethiopia handed down guilty verdict against 27 defendants. Earlier - in August court in absentia convicted 13 others, most living in exile in the same case. Six were acquitted after court found no solid evidence to support the charges.

Many of the convicts are former or serving army members who belong to an exiled opposition movement, Ginbot 7. Two among the defendants have admitted their guilt and asked court for mercy.

The spokesperson for state minister of justice Mekonnen Bezabih said that death penalty is being sought for the convicted group. He further said that court could see special considerations for the two who pleaded guilty.

"Court is asked to pass maximum sentence (death penalty) against them" he said.

"At the same time, we have asked court to consider on the sentence for the two who have confessed their activity and showed regret," said Chief prosecutor, Berihu Teweldebirhan who also asked the court to confiscate the assets of eight defendants.

Last April, Ethiopia said that its security forces have arrested 36 suspects with weapons, coup plans and other documents in their hand.

The group, all said were members of the outlawed Ginbot 7(May 15) opposition movement, were accused of plotting to assassinate top government officials, conspiring to incite rebellion within the army, blow up power and telecom facilities, provoke protests and there by topple Prime minister Meles Zenawi-led government.

Leader of the group, Birhanu Nega was elected as a mayor of the capital, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia’s 2005 elections. But he was then jailed for orchestrating street protests along dozens of other opposition leaders. After government pardon in 2007, he left for the US where he organized the movement.

Birhanu is one of the 13, previously convicted in absentia on the same case, but he has denied any involvement and repeatedly called PM Meles government as ’illegitimate’ and stressed a need for its removal.

(ST)

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  • 29 November 2009 04:24, by maumau

    Whats up Chief prosecutor, hunger is killing thousands of Ethiopians each year and you are prosecuting death penalty to another 40, what do you mean. Please revise your judgement as life imprisonment was a fair sentence. Ethiopians are good neighbours. MAUMAU

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  • 29 November 2009 04:30, by Mohammad100

    Who is more criminal in Ethiopia?

    It is with the deepest regret that it is being revealed that the Ethiopian regime has already sold hundreds of thousands of hectares of fertile agricultural land in Oromia to foreign investors. The regime has put the whole of the state of Oromia on the market.
    More than 80 Indian companies have invested an estimated $4billion in buying huge plantation in Oromia. The largest among them is Karuturi Global, one of the world’s largest producers of cut roses. It has signed deals for just under 350,000 hectares to create what it claims to be the world’s largest agricultural land-bank.
    The King Abdullah initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad has also bought vast fertile farmland in Oromia. A group of Saudi investors is spending $100m to raise wheat, barley and rice on land leased to them by the Ethiopian regime. The investors are exempt from tax and export the entire crop back home.
    Sun Biofuels (UK) has acquired 125,000 hectares of land for jatropha farm and is in the process of starting bio fuel production in Oromia and Flora EcoPower (Germany) has bought 13,000 hectars of land and growing jatropha for bio fuel. The list goes on.
    In Oromia land belongs to the people. The Oromo people do not only farm the land but have a sacred traditional, spiritual and cultural connection to their land. The Oromo people have been living on their current lands for thousands of years with perfect harmony with nature and they are the best in the region in proper land usage for generations. Now, the Tigrean led regime has condemned the Oromo people to virtual slavery by forcibly uprooting them from the land of their ancestors.
    The environmental destruction by the industrial scale farming and exploitation of the natural resource will not only affect Oromia but the whole region.

    May god save Oromia, and other regions of Ethiopia from these scavengers called TPLF led by Meles Zinaw!!!

    Mohammad.

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