Qilinto Federal Prison administration didn’t bring former Semayawi Party Public Relations head Mr. Yonatan Tesfaye to court on his adjournment, October 24, 2016. Activist Yonatan Tesfaye who is charged with terrorism for his Facebook posts should have appeared before court on October 24 to start hearing of his defense witnesses.
It was remembered that Ethiopian Federal High Court Lideta 4th criminal bench ruled against the accused after examining prosecutor’s evidences in August, 2016 and decided Yonatan Tesefaye to defend himself and adjourned to Oct, 14 to hear his defense witnesses.
Federal High Court 4th bench judges Belayhun Awol, Yakob Mekuriya and Girma Debassu heard the case in their office in the absence of the defendant. The judges asked Qilinto Prison administration representative vice Sergeant Zewdu W/Mariam to explain why the administration didn’t bring Yonatan Tesfaye to court.
According to Sergeant Zewdu, the administration failed to bring the defendant as many prisoners in Qilinto are sent to different other prisoners following a ‘fire accident’ in August, 2016. However, the representative didn’t present written response while the court requested for it.
“I didn’t bring written response. We have been explaining orally so far” said Sergeant Zewdu when asked for written response by the court, adding that he appeared there to only know the next adjournment of Yonatan’s case. Asked about Yonatan Tesfaye’s whereabouts, the prison administration representative said that he doesn’t know whether Yonatan is in Qilinto or not.
However, Yonatan’s lawyer confirmed that he is in Qilinto prison and his families visit him for 5 to 10 minutes a day. His lawyer make a complaint that the prison administration has banned him from visiting his client and requested the court to give order for visitation so as to discuss with the defendant and come up with defense witnesses in the next adjournment.
Accordingly, the court has ordered Qilinto prison administration to bring written response that explains why it failed to bring the defendant on October 24, 2016 in the next adjournment. Besides the court has given order to the administration to let the lawyer to visit his client.
Yonatan Tesefay’s case is adjourned to November 28, 2016 to hear defense witnesses.
Activist Yonatan Tesfaye was charged for violating article 4 of the Anti Terrorism Proclamation and the court changed the article and ruled to defend what is stated in article 6 of the proclamation that states about “…encouraging terrorism acts…”.