Lidetu Ayalew

By Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, April 29, 2021 – The Federal First Instance Court blocked letters by the Federal & Oromia police banning founder and leader of the opposition Ethiopian Democratic Party Lidetu Ayalew from traveling abroad for medical reasons. 

On April 15 Lidetu was banned from travelling to the United States for the 3rd time as he was returned from Bole international airport where he was told that court orders banned him from traveling. According to his lawyer Gemechu Gudeta, Lidetu appealed to the federal first instance court demanding to debate about his travel ban in a court of law. On April 22, 2021 he appeared in court where the federal police argued that his travel ban should not be lifted explaining that Lidetu is under investigation. The court gave an alternative appointment for April 29, 2021 asking the police to provide more explanations as to Lidetu’s travel ban.

In its explanation the federal police said that Oromia police commission expressed its doubts if Lidetu is allowed to travel abroad, he might not return to attend further court hearings. Additionally, the federal police in a letter dated February 11, 2021 requested that Lidetu should be banned from travelling abroad on the grounds that he was disseminating disinformation about the ‘law enforcement operation’ in Tigray through social media and enticing chaos to forcefully dismantle the constitutional order. 

However, on March 15, Oromia Supreme Court, East Shewa Permanent Bench acquitted Lidetu of all charges, these include alleged mobilization of youth in Bishoftu to forcefully dismantle the constitutional order. Lidetu was prevented from leaving the country despite showing paperwork related to his acquittal by the court. 

The judges provided two reasons for dismissing the police imposed travel ban. The first was Lidetu was declared free of the two charges the Oromia police brought against him and said there was no ground to continue enforcing a travel ban on him

Today the Federal First Instance Court, Arada Branch ruled in the favor of Lidetu and lifted the travel ban according to his lawyer.

The judges provided two reasons for dismissing the police imposed travel ban. The first was Lidetu was declared free of the two charges the Oromia police brought against him and said there was no ground to continue enforcing a travel ban on him. Doing so would infringe Lidetu’s constitutional right to move as a free person.

The second reason is the fact that Lidetu is in serious need of medical attention abroad, and preventing him getting medical attention is tantamount to depriving him of his constitutional right to life. AS

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