Home | News    Wednesday 23 December 2009

Ethiopia sentences 5 to death, 33 to life on coup plot


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 22, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — An Ethiopian court on Tuesday handed down death penalty to five coup plotters and sentenced life imprisonment to 33 others.

The sentenced plotters, all members of an 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 Ethiopian government.

In April, The Ethiopian government claimed that it had foiled a plot by the group and said its security men have seized weapons, coup plans and other documents from the hands of these plotters.

"All the convicted five have committed grave offences and four of them have not learnt from their previous sentences," Judge Adam Ibrahim of the federal High Court said.

"Therefore we are left with no choice but to hand down the maximum sentences" he added.

Among those sentenced to death was Berhanu Nega, an associate professor of economics at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania who founded and leads the exiled opposition movement ,labelled by Ethiopian government as a ‘‘terrorist’’ group.

Three, among the five sentenced to death were sentenced in absentia.

All but two of the defendants in Ethiopian custody have proclaimed their innocence. On special consideration, the two defendants who admitted their guilt were sentenced to 10 years.

Last month, 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.

Last month, Chief prosecutor in Ethiopia’s coup plot case has asked court death penalty against the convicted group.

The defendants’ relatives and lawyers said they would appeal the sentences.


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  • 23 December 2009 03:39, by Dinka Boy

    Dear Ethipian brothers and Sisters,

    The death panalty of these five will be the great loss to the citizens of Ethiopia. If these individuals are sentence to death because of coup plan/plot against the governmnet then i rather begged your govt not to killed people like that professor of Economics and the others that are in that list. Please can Judge reduce their death panalty to jail sentence.

    repondre message

    • 23 December 2009 03:53, by Dinka Dominated SPLA

      to DINKA boy
      please they deserve to die becaused they were try to cause the death of more people so please let them die see now in south sudan there are wicked oaf evil people who should be kill for what they have done but due to our foregiveness they are now saying that the are the best for what they have done to us in 1990s so death is good for them and thanks DEATH TO MWICKED OAF EVIL MAN RIAK MACHAR AND HIS LIKES.

      repondre message

      • 23 December 2009 09:03, by solo

        DINKA I do not know who is rika machar is and what he did, but This Ethiopian people who got Death sentence is our hero for Ethiopioan people. You know what is the crime they make just simply they asking freedom from ethnic apartied and Democracy For Ethiopian people.At this time despite G7 has formed in a short period of time, millions of ethiopian people marshing behind this people.And for your information the Mafia and gencide so called Ethiopian government will not stay in power for so long.

        repondre message

  • 23 December 2009 03:42, by Dinka Dominated SPLA

    Well riak machar must be looked very carefully atherwish he could repeat his wicked oaf evil act against DR KIIR.

    repondre message

    • 23 December 2009 04:57, by The Best Generation

      No. These Intellectual killing by the Ethiopian government has its historical origin since, the Killing of two sons of Neway(Mengistu and his brother Girmame) in the 1960 Attempted Coup.

      Haile Selassie’s efforts to achieve a measure of change without jeopardizing his own power stimulated rising expectations, some of which he was unwilling or unable to satisfy. Impatient with the rate or form of social and political change, several groups conspired to launch a coup d’état on December 13, 1960, while the emperor was abroad on one of his frequent trips.

      The leadership of the 1960 revolt came from three groups: the commander of the Imperial Bodyguard Mengistu Neway, and his followers; a few security officials, including the police chief; and a handful of radical intellectuals related to the officials, including Girmame Neway, Mengistu’s brother.

      The coup was initially successful in the capital, as the rebels seized the crown prince and more than twenty cabinet ministers and other government leaders. The support of the Imperial Bodyguard, the backbone of the revolt, was obtained without informing the enlisted men—or even a majority of the officers—of the purpose of the rebels’ actions. The proclaimed intent of the coup leaders was the establishment of a government that would improve the economic, social, and political position of the general population, but they also appealed to traditional authority in the person of the crown prince. No mention was made of the emperor.

      The coup’s leaders failed to achieve popular support for their actions. Although university students demonstrated in favor of the coup, army and air force units remained loyal to the emperor, who returned to the capital on December 17. The patriarch of the church, who condemned the rebels as antireligious traitors and called for fealty to the emperor, supported the loyalists. Despite the coup’s failure, it succeeded in stripping the monarchy of its claim to universal acceptance and led to a polarization of traditional and modern forces.

      The same trend was followed by Derg Regime-Mengistu Hailemariam headed government of EthiopiaPomp and circumstance was the order of the day at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport as Ethiopia’s Marxist President, Lieut. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, gave a group of progovernment dignitaries a pep talk and then flew off for a four-day state visit to East Germany. But within a few hours of his departure early last week, a group of senior army officers were in revolt against Mengistu’s rigidly Marxist twelve-year-old regime.

      The attempted coup began when rebel officers seized the Defense Ministry. Major General Haile Giorgis Habte Mariam, the Defense Minister, refused to join the revolt and was killed. There were reports of MiG-21s and helicopter ( gunships screeching over the capital and of tanks and armored personnel carriers converging on the ministry. Meanwhile, in Asmara, the northern provincial capital and Ethiopia’s second largest city, Mengistu’s Second Army, some 150,000 strong, was in mutiny. In sympathy with the rebellion, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front announced a two-week cease-fire in its 27- year-old war of secession.

      Within a day, Mengistu rushed home to restore control. He cut off his country from the outside world, closing airports and telecommunications lines. By week’s end the President announced that the coup had failed and vowed that his forces would "liquidate" the traitors. According to the State Ruling Council, most of the conspirators had surrendered. But the toll of the insurrection was high: nine generals, including the air force commander and the army Chief of Staff, had died.

      Though he retains control for the moment, Mengistu’s position is likely to remain precarious. His Soviet-supplied army is one of the largest and best equipped in Africa, but it has suffered what one Ethiopian officer called "disastrous, bloody chaos." Last March it was trounced by rebels from the Tigre People’s Liberation Front, which has been fighting the government for twelve years. One year earlier, 19,000 government soldiers were routed by Eritrean forces.

      Army officers say they are demoralized by political mishandling of military affairs and by worries of eventual weapons shortages as Moscow pressures Mengistu to settle the civil war. Much of the civilian population would also like to see their leader deposed. People were particularly angered when Mengistu ordered the forced conscription of 100,000 boys, some as young as 13.

      For today’s article,I see as if it has some trhing to do with the rejection of the Basher’s icc case by most African leaders,having in their mind that they are gona commit the same trend of mistakes has this has became clear now with this disguised communist regime of Ethiopia. A close friend of Basheer, who taught all those tricks.
      Sooner than later most of the power thirst Africa are gona kill every body opposing them like the way of Basher and his boy Meles. Terrible

      repondre message

  • 24 December 2009 11:45, by Issa

    A very usual Abyssianians power struggle.

    It may seem as an event but this is just a déjà vu scenario played and replayed at least 9 times over the last 150 years.

    One hand an abassinian tyranic ruler victim of an obessional compulsive mental disorder deliberately wrecking this country in order to entice bargain with foreign nations: economic and military assistance for him to stay in power.

    In the other hand, an elite is which fully conscious about upcoming and unavoidable system collapse. This disgrounted elite can be either close to the power base (like Neway sons and Siye Abraha) or globalised and rooted into the diaspora like Berhanu Nega and followers.

    Meles does not have the guts required for carrying on the announced execution. The convicted are not Ogaden, Gambella, Sidama or Oromos ...cheap flesh.

    Moreover Meles is not a principled leader like Haile Selasse or Mengistu. No Meles is rather the world chief beggar.

    The whole game, is an empty show design to create a communication opportunity for zabanya Meles to get some assistance from his real masters: the USA and the western world.

    This show was played and replayed isn’t it?. Therefore this should not divert our attention!

    repondre message

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