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News: Prisoners awaiting terrorism charges conduct hunger strike amidst pending investigation

Journalists Gobeze Sisay and Meskerem Abera among the prisoners (Photo:Social Media)

Addis Abeba – 45 prisoners including journalists and intellectuals who were imprisoned on suspicion of terrorism in connection with instabilities in the Amhara region have conducted a three-day hunger strike, one of their defense lawyers Solomon Gezahegn told Addis Standard.

The lawyer explained that the prisoners went on hunger strike in opposition to the arrest and prosecution of journalists, Amhara intellectuals and the youth, and making them suspects of terrorism, adding that the hunger strike started on Monday, 07 May and ended yesterday.

The Ethiopian Joint Security and Intelligence Task Force announced on Sunday, 30 April, that it had arrested 47 suspects who were “organized covertly and have allegedly committed terrorism offenses.” Among the detainees who are now accused of terrorism related offenses include journalists who were detained earlier

The taskforce claimed some of the detainees were “apprehended with several individual and group weapons, bombs and incendiary explosives as well as satellite communication devices and laptops” containing various information, the taskforce said in a statement.

According to Solomon, some of the prisoners including prominent media personality Meskerem Abera appeared in court today 18 May, and the police asked for an additional 14 days for investigation. 

After hearing the defense lawyers’ counter argument that the additional 14 days is not necessary as the police had gathered enough information, the judges adjourned the session to 10am tomorrow to give a verdict. AS

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