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News: Lawyer for suspects detained in wake of assassinations says his clients kept isolated, in cold, dark room

Mahlet Fasil

Addis Abeba, July 03/2019 – Henok Aklilu, the lawyer representing four suspects detained in connection with the June 21 killing of high level regional and federal officials, told Addis Standard that his clients are detained in “inhuman” condition inside the Addis Abeba Police Commission compound in Piassa which hosts a prison quarter.

On June 27 the federal police told a court in Addis Abeba that it wanted to file terrorism charges against six individuals arrested and accused of having connections with, as well as involvement at various levels in Saturday’s failed coup attempt in Amhara regional state and the killing of the army chief of staff along with a retired general in Addis Abeba.

The next day on June 28, Henok Aklilu has filed a complaint at the federal first instance court Arada branch, where the six suspects appeared and were arraigned for 28 days, that the police have refused to give him access to his clients. The judges approved the complaints and asked the police to provide answers in a hearing adjourned for yesterday, July 02.

At the hearing yesterday, “the police have told the court that there were some problems which were now sorted and that I was free to visit my clients. I went to see them immediately after and I found out that the conditions in which they were kept under was inhuman and appalling,” Henok told Addis Standard. “They are kept isolated in 2 X 2 prison cell, which is cold and dark; they are only allowed toilets visits once every 24 hours,” he said, adding, the suspects were also not allowed visits by family members and friends since their detention more than a week ago.

Henok is representing four of the six suspects: Berihun Adane, Asrat Media Addis Abeba Branch office coordinator, Sintayehu Chekol, and Merkebu Haile, members of the Addis Abeba Bale’adera Mikir Bet” (Addis Abeba caretaker council), and Mastwal Arega, former employee of the ministry of revenue.

“I will monitor not only the situation of my clients but all of the detainees and in the event that there is no improvement, I will submit another complaint to the court before the next hearing on July 24,” Henok said. AS

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