From Supreme Court to Council of Ministers

A note on my absence
I have not been blogging on my personal blog since last August but not without excuses. Over this period a lot have been happening- I have been searching for a new job, traveling a lot and looking a place to reside in Addis, hence I have averaged an article per month in all of the blogs I have been writing on frequently – a significant drop-off. But I will come stronger than before soon. For now I have decided to translate Temesegen’s note on the upcoming appeal trial of Eskinder Nega!

By Temesgen Desalegn

For Eskender Nega & others Wednesday March 22 2013 will supposedly be their last appointment to get the judgment for their appeal to the Supreme Court. Indictees on this lawsuit have appealed but their pleas have been pending for the last five months with the intent why? Follow these conversations …

One of the reasons which delayed the appeal process is the predicament the government faces regarding the journalist and political analyst Eskinder Nega. The reason is obvious Eskinder’s indictment is bogus. Actually it is not me (the writer) who claimed about the hollowness of Eskinder’s charges. The person who claimed it is – Ato Amare Amogne; the middle judge of the Supreme Court. Last month Ato Amare convened the prosecutors and spoke with them. Ato Amare said to the prosecutors “When you prosecute this man as a terrorist your proofs of the charges were only the articles he has written on various occasions, his interviews and his speech you claimed he made on a certain political party discussion forum. In any case you have never shown the calamity he brought otherwise it can be considered he has never brought any harm. Apparently this does not allow me to hand dawn a sentence on him. For this reason if you have any evidence which can confirm his transgression present it otherwise I will pronounce him acquittal when he appears before the court.”

As the prosecutors have never had any evidence they reflected their opinion in a very blind manner they said “Since the man is a terrorist decline his appeal and uphold the ruling of the High Court” But the judge kept on his ground and acted in response and he said “I will never function dishonestly and I have a clear conscious” I really cannot express what kind sacred power was hovering around this judge. This infuriate one of the prosecutors and he went on to say to the judge” You said you send Eskinder acquittal it is because you guys are from the same place –Gonder” But this even has driven the judge mad and made him react “I have been serving my country for my entire life not my locality; besides I never have nepotism.

Since this frenzied disagreement could not be handled in their level they took the matter to the Council of Ministers.

Demeke Mekonen; the Deputy Prime Minster was the chair of the meeting which was held in the Council of Ministers. Judge Amare was also attending the meeting.

Ato Demeke has requested the judge to give a brief explanation about the issue. The judge went on and gave a concise explanation about the charges and concluded as follows: “Since I could not find any proof which persuades me to sentence Eskinder as a terrorist I will pronounce him acquittal. But if you deny me not to exercise my duty I kindly tell you that I am not willing to preside on the day’s court hearing. And I hope you will understand my positions”. Afterward the ministers discussed and argued over the issue in detail and towards the end of the dialogue; Ato Demeke said: “I have the same opinion with Judge Amare; because of this man (Eskinder) we are under extreme international pressure so if we release him the profit is our own.” Another minster continued
“I agree in principle. But if we leave him free after we kept him for this long it might cost us a political defeat so let’s try to lessen the lengthy sentence and made him ask for a pardon” One more minister continued “I know Eskinder very well; he is a well-off person and he has an American residence permit I don’t think he will be willing to request for forgiveness given the fact that he knew all the consequences” Another minister went on with the following opinion “ In any case Meles knew Eskinder’s imprisonment would bring an international pressure but he did it for benefit of our party; so why do we succumb to an international pressure? Is it because Meles passed away? I strongly believe that Meles deemed this man as hazardous and threw him into gulag so let’s put up with this decision. Let him spend his entire life in the gulag”

The Council of Ministers could not reach a consensus on the matter. They wanted further explanation from the President of the Supreme Court Ato Tegene. They scheduled time for that and end their meeting. My endeavor to get further leaks about the latest development particularly after explanation from the President of the Supreme Court on the issue was not successful. I decided to write this because Eskinder’s next appointment for the hearing is fast approaching. So I presume one of the following would happen on Wednesday’s appeal trial of Eskinder

1.The Council of Ministers would be forced to exonerate Eskinder because of the international pressure
2.They may uphold the Sentence given by the High Court! They might be abided by the “vision” of Meles
3.They might trim down his lengthy prison sentences(18 years) and bargain with Eskinder to force him ask for pardon
4.Another last appointment will be given again if the judge –Ato Amare might not preside as he gave an ultimatum in their meeting

Finally I say our “leaders” are being trembling with fear because of the civil hero Eskinder Nega. This glaring reality is printed on their face. Mark my words Eskinder’s unjust incarceration will never stop by trembling you with fear! Victory for Ethiopians! Down with dictators!

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