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News: Former State Minister of Peace charged with crimes of 'supporting anti-peace forces' 'unauthorized possession of weapons'

Addis Abeba – Federal prosecutors at the Ministry of Justice’s Directorate of Organized and Cross-Border Affairs filed three criminal charges against Taye Dendea, the former State Minister of Peace, including with the crime of ‘supporting anti-peace forces and being in possession of unauthorized weapons, according to state media.

The three charges were filed at the Federal High Court’s first bench which presides on crimes against the constitution and the constitutional order.

Accordingly, federal prosecutors said the accused should be indicted “for violating” the provisions of Article 251/C and Article 257/G of the 2004 Criminal Law.

The indictment by the prosecutors accuses the defendant that when he held the position of State Minister of Peace, he was involved in disseminating “propaganda messages in support of anti-peace forces” and sent messages “expressing support” on his social media page.

Prosecutors also accused the defendant of violating the Firearms Act by having “unauthorized weapons” that were allegedly found at his residence during a search at his former residence in Ledta sub-city Woreda 6, a residence his family has since been forcibly evicted from.

PM Abiy Ahmed sacked Taye in a letter issued on 11 December 2023. The letter failed short of explaining the reason but thanked Taye for his contribution during his tenure since 08 October 2021.

It came against the backdrop of unprecedented media engagement and social media posts by Taye who made stern remarks criticizing the government including for the failure of Dar es Salaam peace talks between the Ethiopian government and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

Taye was detained the next day after he was sacked from his position in what security forces said was following “a thorough investigation” revealing alleged evidence of Taye’s participation in “terrorist activities” during his tenure at the ministry.

Taye and his defense team maintain his innocence of any wrongdoing and is seeking for a bail right.

In today’s hearing, he submitted a verbal complaint to the court that he and his family were subjected to human rights violations during and after his detention. The judges stated that the defense can provide details of the abuse in writing.

The defense team also protested that the investigation by the police ended in late December but that the charges were filed now.
However, the prosecutor responded that other investigations against the defendant are continuing.

After listening to both sides the court has adjourned the next hearing until 02 May to investigate and give verdict regarding the bail request by the accused. AS

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