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News: Despite end of emergency decree, court in Oromia grants police seven days to remand journalist Tamerat; contravenes earlier ruling

Tamerat Negera. Photo: Screengrab/AS

By Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba – Judges at Gelan district court located in Oromia special zone surrounding Finfinne granted Oromia police to continue remanding journalist Tamerat Negera, the editor in chief of the online media Terara Network, for seven more days and adjourned the next hearing until 24 February.

The decision contravened the ruling on 30 December by the court itself to transfer Tamerat’s case to the state of emergency command post after the police said they no longer needed additional time to investigate Tamrat and closed the file, prompting the court to transfer the case to the command post.

The court had allowed the proceeding for the bail request made by Tamrat’s defense team. However, the case was neither transferred to the state of emergency command post, nor has it been allowed bail by the court.

Ethiopia’s members if House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) have voted to lift the wartime state of emergency, which was put in place on 02 November last year. Following the lifting, there were growing exceptions that Tamerat and others who are detained under the emergency would be released. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the U.S. Government have also called on the immediate release of all civilians detained under the emergency proclamation. “Considering its impact on human rights,the Commission noted positively the decision to lift the state of emergency, which has been in place since 02 November. The Commission reiterates its call for the immediate release of those arrested in connection with the implementation of the Proclamation,” EHRC said in a statement.

it emerged that the trial in the morning took place without the presence of his defense team at around 11:00 AM local time today

According to a statement released by Terara Network, the law dictates that anyone detained under the emergency rule should have been released within 48 hours after the emergency rule was lifted. Tamerat was arraigned in court today in anticipation that he would be freed, his family said he was told. But it emerged that the trial in the morning took place without the presence of his defense team at around 11:00 AM local time today. Tamerat has also asked for his right to bail, but was told by the court that he can invoke the question at his next trial, Terara Netwrok said.

Tamrat was arrested on December 10 from his house. Days later, the family of Tamrat was unable to find him at Addis Abeba Police Commission’s Sostegna Police Station where he was initially detained after his arrest. Later it was revealed that he was transferred to Oromia police and he is detained at a police station in Gelan. AS

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