Federal High Court Lideta Division 4th Criminal Bench dropped all, except one, preliminary objections of Nigist Yirga et al on its March 31/2017 hearing. The court only accepted the objection which the defendants requested the disclosure of prosecutor witnesses against them.
The first preliminary objection was regarding their right to be tried in the Amhara Regional court for the alleged crime was committed in Amhara Regional State.
Judges in their verdict noted that the right to see terrorism charges is given to the Federal High Court and Federal Supreme Court according to the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation Art 31(1). They added that terrorism by its very nature is not believed to be limited to a certain region. Hence, the court dropped the objection.
Regarding claims of the non clarity of the charge in terms of time and place, judges argued that the crime was not committed at a single specific place and time; it cannot be presented in clearer way. They rejected the objection as a result.
The objection regarding the disclosure of the lists of prosecutor witnesses, the judges said the confidentiality of lists of the witnesses mention under the law does not apply to this particular case as the witnesses’ risk possibility is low. As a result, they gave verdict that the prosecutor should offer the lists of defense witnesses to the defendants.
Following the verdict, defendants were asked for plea. Accordingly, all the defendants pleaded not guilty and denied their alleged involvement in the terrorism acts.
Meanwhile, the 6th defendant Yared Girma requested for the second time that he needed to receive his properties that were taken by interrogators during his detention. It is to be recalled that Yared had claimed that investigators took various research materials but they did not present them as evidences or exhibits. Judges gave verdict that investigator should return the defendant’s properties unless they present it as evidences or exhibit. The court told the prosecutor to handle the complaint.
Court adjourned the case to May 8/2017 to hear prosecutor witnesses.