By Firaol Bersisa @FiraolBer
Addis Abeba – The 17 defendants in the Qasim Abdullahi’s file, including journalists Bikila Amenu, Dachasa Wirtu Bati, and Desu Dulla appeared at the Oromia Supreme court today as per the earlier adjournment set on April 21. The court had previously ordered the prosecution to present a retort to the defense presented by the legal team of the accused.
A member of the legal team, Gudane spoke to Addis Standard, detailing that they had presented their defense against the accusation in which they asked for clarity as to the legal proceedings, and how the accused were involved in the said crimes as well as how they contradicted the constitution.
The prosecution stood by its case and asserted that the accused were in fact involved in crimes and that the accusations were right, he said. When asked what the next steps in the litigation would be, Gudane informed Addis Standard that the court will offer a verdict on May 12. He added that the defense team had cited the journalistic, constitutional, legal, and international conventions in defense of the accused.
It is to be remembered that the 17 defendants were accused of working to dismantle the legally established government to impose the Oromia Regional National Transitional Government. They were arrested last year and are currently housed at Dalati Detention center in Sebeta town.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) yesterday called upon the authorities for ‘the immediate release of Desu Dulla and Bikila Amenu and drop of all charges levied against them’. AS