Next Hearing for AAU 20 students, August 10th 2016

On August 1, 2016, a verdict was given on the case of the 20 Oromo students from Addis Ababa University. The students were arrested and charged for demonstrating at the gate of US Embassy in Addis Ababa on March 8, 2016 opposing the ongoing violation of human rights by the government on peaceful citizens following the public protest in Oromia region

The charges filed against the students are;

1. Conducting a peaceful rally in groups and collectively nearby international organizations without acknowledgment/Authorization from the concerned government body. (Offences based on the Peaceful rally and political procedure proclamation No. 3 Article 7(1), Criminal Code Article 32/1/A and Criminal Code Article 482/1/A)

2. Voicing false slogans that can cause public frustration; instigating the public to create false mistrust/suspicion against the government (Offences based on Article 32/1/A and Article 486/A of the Criminal Code)

3. Voicing a slogan that calls for amendment of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to make the people oppose the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation which is proclaimed by the parliament/legislation. (Offences based on Article 32/1/A and Article 486/A of the Criminal Code)

The 9 defendants (10th and 12th-19th defendants) were given a verdict to be released free of all the three charges filed against them since the prosecutor’s witnesses did not give any testimony that implicate them with the charges.

Regarding the remaining 11 defendants (1st- 9th, 11th and 20th defendants), they are given a verdict to defend the second and third charges filed against them, while the first charge is dropped since sufficient testimony is not given that supports the claims.

A release order is given for the prison to release the 9 students who are free from all the charges. The case of the remaining students is adjourned for August 4, 2016 to hear their defense witnesses.

On the August 4th hearing, the defendants asked the court to give them more time to work on their defense and it is again adjourned for August 10 2016.