Law & Justice

News: Prosecutors Charge Misha Adem Chiri with telecom fraud; charges filed in his and his lawyers’ absence

Misha Adem Chiri . Picture: Social Media

By Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, September 04/2020 – Federal Prosecutors have September 02 charged US citizen Misha Adem Chiri with criminal charges of violating the country anti-telecom fraud proclamation No. 761/204 Article 9/1.

Prosecutors accused Misha, an IT assistant with Oromia Media Network (OMN), of installing telecom satellite equipment prohibited to be in possession of private individuals at the residence of Jawar Mohammed. Prosecutors further alleged that the telecom satellite equipment was imported without permission from the United States of America and was used to tap into mobile phones, desktop computers and tablets and hack private data including video up to 25 km radius. They also allege the technology allowed a private network system.     

On August 24, Misha was granted a 10, 000 birr bail by the Federal First Instance Court Arada Branch along with Dejene Tafa of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), OMN journalist Guyo Wario and businessman Korssa Dechassa. However the police appealed the decision at the Federal high Court. At a hearing held on August 31, judges approved the bail for Guyo and allowed the police to continue remanding and investigating Misha for three more days, adjourning the next hearing for September 03.

The police secured the additional three days to remand Misha after they argued that Misha’s carries a foreign passport and if he was released, he would pose a flight risk. The police also said they were still waiting for material evidence from INSA. Accordingly, the court granted the police three more days to present a case against Misha and adjourned the hearing until September 03.

However, the criminal charge was filed on Misha on September 02, in the absence of both him and his lawyers. “We do not know anything,” said his lawyer Kedir Bullo, “our appointment was set for September 03 and we have not received the charge sheet yet,” he told Addis Standard.

When Misha and his lawyers appeared at the court yesterday, the judge presiding over the case was absent. The next hearing was therefore adjourned until Tuesday, September 8, 2020. AS

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