Latest Update: Terara Network said Journalist Tamerat Negera has just been released on bail this afternoon from a police detention center located in Sebeta, Oromia Special Zone Surrounding Finfinne.
His release today followed a ruling by judges at the Oromia Supreme Court on 05 April granting Tamrat a 50,000 birr bail after 117 days in detention without charges. See the news below.
Updated News: Oromia Supreme Court orders release of journalist Tamerat Negera on bail (05 April)
Addis Abeba – Judges at the Oromia Supreme Court today ordered the release of journalist Tamrat Negera on 50,000 birr bail.
It has been 117 days since the arrest of Tamrat Negera, the editor-in-chief of Terara Network Online Media, but he has not been charged and his bail application was pending.
On 10 March Judges at Gelan district court of the Oromia Regional State Special Zone Surrounding Finfinne ordered prosecutors at Oromia’s Attorney General office to file charges on journalist Tamerat within 15 days if there were reasonable ground for the charges the prosecutors were seeking to indict Tamerat with. Furthermore, the judges also ruled that Tamerat should be transferred to Sebeta city, Daleti police station, located in Oromia Regional State Special Zone Surrounding Finfinne.
Subsequently, the defense team filed a motion for the release on bail of their client at the Oromia Supreme Court. After reviewing the bail application, the Oromia Supreme Court rescheduled a hearing on 24 March during which the judges ordered the investigating police to bring the results of their investigations on the journalist.
At today’s hearing, after reviewing all documents presented by the investigating police, the judges ruled for Tamerat to be released on bail of 50, 000 birr. However, it is not clear if the police are intending to appeal the ruling to continue remanding and investigating the journalist, which is often a police response to court rulings.
In February, the police submitted two pages charge sheet to the court in Gelan containing list of accusations they wanted to indict Tamerat with and said that the remaining investigations, including searches into Tamerat’s phone records and computer memories would be concluded and submitted to the court. Among the allegations the prosecutors wanted to indict Tamerat with include accusations that he was “spreading information that advanced the benefit of TPLF during the year-long war”, and adds that he was broadcasting “disinformation about the progress of the war” and was “defaming the prime minister by saying, “He is intentionally working in a manner that defames and descends the country to a lower standard.” The investigating police claim that there were violations which were equivalent to the war destruction the TPLF and OLA inflicted. AS