Eskinder Nega. Image: social media

Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, July 17/2020– Judges at the Federal High Court Lideta Branch have ordered federal police to conduct an inquiry into the beating of Eskinder Nega, Founder and Leader of the opposition party Balderas for Genuine Democracy, by members of the federal police.

Eskindir was arrested on July 01 by heavily armed police officers from his office. Sintayehu Chekol, his deputy, was also detained the next day from the capital Addis Abeba.

The police have already brought Eskinder and Sintayehu to the Federal First Instant Court First Arada Branch on July 02 and were granted 14 days to remand and investigate both.

However, due to security concerns, yesterday’s pretrial hearing was transferred to the Federal High Court Lideta Branch, his defense lawyer Henok Aklilu told Addis Standard.

During the hearing, Eskinder and his defense lawyer told the judges that Eskinder was physically assaulted by members of the police on the day he was detained. Eskinder told the court that he will press charges against the members of the police who were involved in his beating. Subsequently the judges have ordered the federal police to investigate the claim and submit the results to the court.

The police accuse Eskinder and Sintayehu of coordinating violence in Addis Abeba in the aftermath of the assassination of prominent Oromo artist Hacaaluu Hundeessaa, including paying money to and dispatching several groups of young people in the city, which resulted in the death of ten people, including two police officers, who were killed either by rocks, or shot at, or due to bomb blasts. The police also accuse the two of causing the injuries of 57 police officers and damages to properties worth 54 million birr in the two days that followed the assassination of Hacaaluu.

Eskinder and his defense team deny all the allegations. Henok also objected police’s request for additional days on the grounds that the police have already told the court they were in possession of said evidences.

However the judges have granted the police 13 more days to remand and investigate Eskinder and Sintayehu and adjourned the next hearing on July 29. AS

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