News: Fed. Supreme Court refers prosecutor’s appeal to Fed. High court for decision on witness hearing in Eskinder Nega File

Eskinder Nega, founder of the opposition party Balderas for Genuine Democracy. Picture: CPJ

By Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, May 12, 2021 – The Federal Supreme Court, 2nd Appeals Bench today heard arguments in the case of the prosecutors appeal to have closed door and behind the curtain hearing against the five defendants on the file of Eskinder Nega, founder of the opposition party Balderas for Genuine Democracy. 

On April 23, 2021, the prosecutor requested the Federal Supreme Court 2nd Appeals Bench to have 16 of the witnesses testify in a closed session and the remaining Five to testify behind curtains also explaining that the witness hearing can be followed by the media and observers via audio. The prosecutor told the court  that one of its witnesses received threats during the preliminary hearing and therefore it needs to hide the identity of its witnesses. The defendants and their lawyers objected to the prosecutors request and asked for the evidence supporting the prosecutors claim to be presented.

At today’s hearing, the defendants attended the session via plasma TV. The court ruled that the case should be taken to the First Constitutional and Anti-Terrorism Bench because the prosecutor did not provide sufficient evidence about the threat posed to he its witnesses. The case will be presented to the federal high court on May 17,2021. AS

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