The Ethiopian court on Friday charged 24 individuals including an activist turned politician Jawar Siraj Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Hamza Adnan and other with terrorism.The suspects were detained last July for the alleged involvement in the killing of more than 200 people and destruction of millions of dollars worth of properties in a targeted attack in the Oromia region of the country.
The religious and ethnic based attacks on ethnic Amhara people were committed by ethnic Oromo youth otherwise called “Qeerroo” frequently after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018.
Police accused Jawar of leading the Qeerroo to mass killings of Amharas who live in Oromia region where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed belongs to.
According to the Office of the Attorney General, the file also includes Dejene Gutema of Oromia Media Network, Birhanemeskel Abebe and Tsegaye Ararsa who are charged in absentia with terrorism.
The Federal Prosecutors filed multiple charges consisting of ten separate charges against the defendants at Federal Supreme Court; Lideta Branch Criminal Bench on September 16, 2020 under the file number 260215, the Attorney General Office said.
The prosecutors accused the 24 individuals of breaching Ethiopia’s 2004 criminal code article 240 on allegations of inciting ethnicity and religion based communal violence; as well as allegations of violating Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 1176/2020, Anti-Telecom Fraud Proclamation 761/2012, and Firearm Administration and Control Proclamation 1177/2020, the attorney general’s office said.
The defendants are expected to appear before Federal Supreme Court, Lideta Branch Criminal Bench on Monday September 21, 2020 to receive the charge sheet, according to the Attorney General Office.
It is the first time police filed charges of terrorism a reform was introduced by Prime Minister Abiy whose popularity declines over time.