The Ethiopian government accused veteran opposition leader Dr. Merera Gudina of instigating violence and terrorism which resulted in the destruction of property in protest-prone Oromia State.A copy of the charge filed at the Federal High Court seen by APA on Sunday claimed Dr. Merera Gudina who chairs the Oromo Federalist Congress was promoting his religious and political ideology by hijacking the popular protest against a master plan by the government to extend Addis Ababa and its environs under the guise of his chairmanship.
According to the charge sheet, the defendant further issued a call to violence by appearing at the Oromia Media Network TV, claiming that 678 revelers were killed by security forces at the Irreecha festival at Bishoftu town on October 4, 2016.
“As a result of the call to violence, lives were lost, people sustained serious injuries as well as governmental and non-government institutions lost over $9.5 million and more than $48.6 billion worth properties, respectively,” the charges said.
Dr Merera was also accused of expressing his willingness to transfer of money raised from some UAE-based OLF supporters to Ethiopia via the finance head of Oromo Federalist Congress for the purpose of inciting violence.
The charge sheet further says he violated the nationwide state of emergency declared last October by holding a meeting on October 11, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium, with Dr Berhanu Nega, leader of the outlawed Ginbot 7.
Dr Merera, who appeared at the Federal High Court 19th criminal bench Friday, requested the court through his lawyer to file an objection to the charges.
The hearing of the prosecutor’s response to the objection was adjourned until March 9, 2017.