Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Chairperson Merera Gudina (Ph.D.), who is charged with multiple criminal offenses, is now adjourned to the next Ethiopian year, October 16/2017.
The Federal High Court Lideta Branch 19th Criminal Bench was adjourned to August 01/2017 to receive the constitutional interpretation from the House of Federation; on whether the list of prosecutor witnesses should be disclosed to the defendant or not.
However, the court said that it has not yet received the interpretation, though the House wrote a letter to let the court know that the request is transferred to the constitutional inquiry committee for interpretation.
Dr. Merera’s lawyers complained about the delay of the interpretation which they said would deny the defendant’s right to speedy trial. “It has been 9 months since our client was arrested. His right to get a speedy trial is not being respected. The court would have decided on the case which it transferred to the House by itself. We know that other benches are deciding such matters themselves. Considering the age, contribution and health condition of the defendant, we request the court to speed up the hearing and schedule the next hearings by this summer” the lawyers said.
One of the four lawyers, Yacob Hailemariam (Ph.D.), on his part told the court that Kality prison administration barred him from speaking with his client Dr. Merera Gudina and requested the court to order the administration to allow access to meet with his client.
The court said that it has to wait for the constitutional interpretation from the House of Federation to precede the hearing unless the defendant lifts his preliminary objection that requested the list of prosecution witnesses against him be disclosed. On the lawyers request to precede the hearing at this summer, the court said it has other hearings that are adjourned prior to this file.
On the other hand, the court ordered Kality prison administration to allow Dr. Yacob Hailemariam to speak with his client.
The court adjourned the next hearing for October 16/2017 to receive the constitutional interpretation by the House.
It was remembered that the court dropped all the defendant’s objections and referred only one objection to the House of Federation for a constitutional interpretation on the issue of the court has legal jurisdiction to give the list of prosecutors’ witnesses to the defendant.