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News: Federal High Court to resume trial of suspects in the case of slain army chief, retired general

The Court’s announcement today came in the wake of interviews the widow of General Seare, Colonel Tsgie Alemayehu (Pictured), gave this week . Image: OMN Screenshot

Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, June 26/2020 – The Federal High Court of Ethiopia announced that it was resuming the trial of suspects involved in the June 22/2019 assassination of General Seare Mekonnen, Chief of staff of the National defense Forces of Ethiopia, and Major General Gezai Abera, a retired general.

The Federal High Court said that the trial was interrupted due to partial court closure in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions. However, Federal Prosecutors have appealed to the court to resume the trial via plasma to which the Court has subsequently agreed.

The main suspect, Private Mesafint Tigabu, will now attend the hearings which will commence on June 30, via plasma from his prison cell, the Court said. The hearing will resume at the Federal High Court, 1st Anti-terrorism and Ant-Constitutional Criminal Bench.

The Court’s announcement today came in the wake of interviews the widow of General Seare, Colonel Tsgie Alemayehu, gave this week to the BBC and Oromia Media Network (OMN) in which she has revealed that as an eye witness who was present at the scene of the assassination, she has not been contacted by anyone to give her testimonials. She also lamented for being left in the dark about the trial for the whole year, a view Abeba Zemichael, the wife of Maj. Gen Gezai Abera, shared in her interview with the BBC. “The judicial process is null. Everyone is quiet on this. Both were great leaders. We are depressed and waiting for justice from God,” she said.

In her interview with the OMN yesterday, Colonel Tsigie described her harrowing experience of finding her bullet-ridden husband laying on the ground, and his friend Maj. Gen. Gezai who she said was shot and killed on the spot at his forehead.

On November 13, 2019, former Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye said that the June 22 assassination of the senior leadership in Amhara regional state and the killing of Gene. Seare and his Maj. Genera Gezai in Addis Abeba were connected and were led by Bir. Gen. Asaminew Tsige, former security head of Amhara regional state. Bir. General Asaminew himself was killed while being pursued by the federal army and Ahmara region security forces a few days after the June 22 killings.

Former Attorney General announced the connection between the killings in Bahir Dar and Addis Abeba at a joint press briefing between the federal and regional attorney general offices as well as the federal and regional police commissions, marking the end of the investigation into the killing. The investigation itself was led by Amhara regional state Attorney General’s office and involved the federal Attorney General’s office, the former attorney general said at the time.

Previously, on August 01/2019, PM Abiy Ahmed told local journalists that the main suspect, Private Mesafint, who by then was still receiving treatment, has received a phone call from a third person in which he was informed of the killings in Bahir Dar.

However, despite the apparent insistence of these major findings by regional and federal authorities, there has not been a significant breakthrough in the trial of suspects. AS   

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