Addis Ababa, July 13 (WIC) – The Federal High Court on Friday sentenced Andualem Arage and Eskinder Nega to life and18 years imprisonment, respectively.
The pair were convicted of two counts of terror and high treason charges on June 27 by the court at Lidetta along with 18 other defendants, out of which 12 were in absentia.
Judge Hussien Yimer delivered the sentence in reading in a packed court where the eight convicts in custody quietly listened.
The Judge said despite being told by the court to submit mitigating grounds in writing ahead of the sentencing, the four defendants, including Andualem and Eskinder, have not submitted their mitigating grounds.
Andualem, the first defendant, was sentenced to life in prison following the violent aftermath of the 2005 election but subsequently pardoned by the government. The Judge delivered life sentence against Andualem taking into account the defendant’s past criminal record and absence of mitigating grounds.
Eskinder, who was convicted on three offenses, received 18 years. The court rejected the prosecutions’ aggravating grounds against the defendant and took into account absence of past criminal records against Eskinder.
The court, presided over by three judges, sentenced the other six defendants in custody to prison terms ranging from 13 to 25 years.
The 12 defendants tried in absentia are sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight years to life imprisonment. Andargachew Tsige, Dr. Birhanu Nega and Fasil Yenealem, senior leaders of Ginbot 7 with past criminal records, are sentenced to life in prison in absentia. Abebe Belew, Abebe Gelaw, Neamin Zeleke, Mesfin Aman each received 15 years in prison while Wube Robe, Zelelegn Tsegaselassie and Obang Meto are sentenced to 18 years. Abiy Teklemariam and Mesfin Negash, convicted of rendering professional support to Ginbot 7, are sentenced to eight years in prison.
The court has also barred all convicts from exercising their civil right for five years.
Temesgen Deribew, one of the defense lawyers, declined to comment on the overall trail and sentence but insisted that they would appeal the decision of the court against Eskinder.
“Eskinder wants to appeal, so we will appeal the verdict and the sentence against him but the other defendants we represent, including Andualem Arage, do not want to appeal,” Temesgen said.
One of the presiding judge Endeshaw Adane was quoted by Reuters as saying that the court has given due considerations to the charges and the sentences are appropriate.
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