UDJ’s Asrat Tassie Jailed

9 Feb 14

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Asrat Tassie, one of the prominent opposition figures and former Secretary-General of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party, was arrested yesterday after being accused of holding a federal court in contempt through his comments published in the Amharic weekly magazine, Addis Guday.

“Currently, the Akeldama drama is being aired on TV. This is happening during the ongoing trial of UDJ versus the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA), whereby the latter is accused of defaming the UDJ. We filed a suit against ERTA not expecting justice but just for the sake of recording it in history,” Asrat wrote in the January 2014 issue of Addis Guday.

He was summoned to the 9th Civil Bench of the Lideta Division of the Federal First Instance Court where he appeared before with his lawyer, Temam Aba Bulgo, to explain what he wrote. His lawyer said that as the legal provision under which he was summoned to appear before the court is irrelevant, his client should be set free.

His lawyer further argued that his client is not directly linked with the case he was accused of.

“The provision under question rather applies only to someone who attempts to disrupt legal proceedings while the court is in session. It is not intended to refer to a person who was not present in court or has no direct relation [with the case]. Since he uttered his comment in other place, he should never have been instructed to appear before the court,” the lawyer explained.

He further told the court that Asrat tried to show in his commentary that the [ruling] Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is afraid of peace instead of terrorism in connection with an ERTA documentary entitled Jihadawi Harakat.

The court on its part said that it has the power to summon anyone whenever it finds that there anything that it believes could unduly affect the legal process.

The court finally convicted Asrat remanded him to jail. It adjourned the case for April 14 so that Asrat can submit to mitigating circumstances to reduce his sentence.

Asrat’s lawyer said that he is going to file an appeal.

Source : www.thereporterethiopia.com


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