By Biruk Alemu @ BirukAlemu
Addis Abeba – Henok Aklilu, the defense lawyer of journalist Temesgen Desalegn told Addis Standard that his client remained in police custody despite court bail because “the prosecutor requested the federal court to consider the revocation of journalist Temesgen’s bail [after] a letter was sent from the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) accusing the journalist of having committed a crime in his recurrent articles against the ENDF.”
The letter which was addressed to the federal prosecutors also cautioned against the release of journalist Temesgen and that the army “would take actions against him”, according to Henok.
“I’m not sure whether the defense force said it would take action against the journalist based upon his writings or if the bail is secured,” the lawyer told Addis Standard adding that on 18 July the prosecutor submitted a written document to the court detailing arguments against the bail permission by the court, which he had “received a copy” at the hearing on Wednesday 20 July.
Henok also explained that since the law did allow it, they were not able to respond to the army’s accusations and ask questions about the possible actions that the army said it would take.
It is to be noted that on 04 July, journalist Temesgen Desalegn, who was brought to the Federal High Court Lideta Division of First constitutional and anti-terrorism was granted release on a 100,000 birr bail. The prosecutor, however, appealed against the bail and brought the case to the Federal Supreme Court.
“Among all the grounds that the prosecutor filed against the journalist bail, the ENDF’s statement of taking action is one of them,” lawyer Henok said. Temesegen’s bail was eventually suspended.
Stating it is investigating the case of journalist Temesgen Desalegn, the owner and managing director of a weekly Amharic magazine called ‘Fith’, the Second Criminal Appeal Court of the Federal Supreme Court, adjourned the next hearing until 28 July 28 to make a decision.
Temesgen was arrested on 26 May on suspicion of “inciting riots and creating public mistrust on the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and the government.”
He has since been indicted on multiple criminal counts including contravening per article 44(1), (2) and Article 337 (1) of Proclamation No.414/2004 of the criminal code of Ethiopia, which includes accusations of breaches of military and official secrecy and inciting the public through false rumors. AS