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Captured Tigray rebel leaders appear in court

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Twenty former leaders of the rebel Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), including the front’s founding member, Sebhat Nega have appeared before the Federal First Instance Court in Addis Ababa.They were charged with alleged crimes of treason and other multiple offenses including an attempt to destroy constitutional order and attacks on federal troops of the northern command. 

All the suspects pleaded not guilty at the hearing on Friday.

The other charges are establishing contact with other countries — outside their constitutional rights — collecting funds for the war they planned against the federal government and firing rockets at Bahir Dar and Gondar International airports — an action that claimed innocent lives, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate (EBC) reported. 

Before the end of the conflict, the Ethiopian government did not disclose that lives were lost due to the rocket attacks at Bahir Dar and Gondar Airport. 

The Federal Police Investigation department also told the court that the nature of the crime they committed is a complicated one and that fourteen more days are needed to complete the investigation which the court granted. 

Sebhat Nega and nine other key TPLF officials were captured last week during a manhunt in the wilderness along Tekeze river, and flown to Addis Ababa on Friday (last week) in an Air Force plane. 

The Ethiopian Defense Force announced earlier this week that three top TPLF leaders (Seyoum Mesfin, Abay Tsehaye and Asmelashe Woldeselassie) were killed in a cave near the Tekeze River during a joint operation by the Defense Force and the Federal police. 

Published on 10.02.2021

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