The court heard one of the two witnesses called by the federal prosecutor against the 20th defendant on Gurmessa Ayano et al file. The hearing has taken place at the 18th bench hall. After looking other files for one hour (9:30-10:30 am) the court started hearing witnesses on Gurmessa Ayano et al.
The court noticed the lawyer of the 20th defendant; Wondimu Ebsa didn’t appear even though the court was waiting for him till he arrives. The lawyers’ of 1-4th defendants Ameha Mekonnen and Abdul-Jabbar stated if the 20th is comfortable with it, they are willing to give him professional support. After the court asked the defendant and confirmed his consent the court allowed them to represent him.
The prosecutor told to the court he has called the 24th and 25th witnesses to testify about the evidence listed in Number 14 under evidences list against the 20th defendant Abdi Tamrat Dessisa. The first witness, Abraha Wolde (38) is a civil servant in Gulele Sub city Transport and communication Section.
Even though the witness started his testimony without taking an oath; the court ordered him to restart it after taking the oath first following a hint given by the lawyers of the defendants. The witness failed to identify the defendant he testified against him even if he tried to look closely all the defendants by going out from the witness stand. He reasoned out he has forgotten the face of the defendant because he saw him a year ago. He told the court on second of February 2016 while he was standing on the street with the other witness around his office; he was asked by the police to be an eyewitness while police is collecting evidence from the defendant who was under custody at that time. He told to the court he didn’t meet the defendant except on that day, they met at Federal police department, Office number 31.
The witness explained that he has observed while the defendant printed out 4o pages of articles, inbox messages from several persons and an image which has a flag of OLF. He told to the court he didn’t remember the content of the texts printed out even though he has got an explanation about it form a translator on that day. The witness added that the defendant was stable and after he put his signature and a short note “It is found from my facebook account” he and the other witness put their signature. He was able to identify and show the evidences which are specific to the 2oth defendant out of all the evidence attached to the whole charge following a request of the prosecutor.
While he was cross-examined he admitted that he has been testified as a witness in other files too and also he failed to elaborate how he can recognize the evidence he is testified today is an evidenced he has observed on the second of February 2016 without identifying the defendant. He told the court he was communicating with the defendant in Amharic because the defendant is an intermittent user of the language. He added that the guy who served as a translator has come from inside the police department and he didn’t remember whether the guy wore a uniform or not. He came to nothing when he was asked did the translator read and translate the whole 4o pages document. When he was asked again about the content elaborated to him by the translator, he was talking about the images he saw again and again but nothing about the content.
The witness told to the court there was no pressure on the defendant while the evidences were collected, the police helped him on plugging the computer of the police department, the defendant himself power on the computer and logged in to facebook using his password and printed out the documents but he didn’t know anything about whether the defendant has passed through any influence before and after the incident or not. He also told to the court he didn’t know the translator came there for a sole reason of translating and he couldn’t comment on the proficiency of the translator because he didn’t know the language Afaan Oromo.
On re-examination the prosecutor asked the witness what was the purpose of the translator when he came to office No 31 on that day. He told to the court the translator came there to aware them about the content and it is not related to putting a signature on the document. The court asked him if he has awareness about ordering a print from other computers using a wireless network he told to the court he is familiar with it. When the court asked him again if he checked the documents he has observed are not printed using a wireless network he replied he didn’t do that. The court asked him if he took a note on that day what he can remember from what he write he answered he took a note and remember that he wrote the name of the defendant, ‘end the slavery’, ‘Say no for freedom’ and the defendants conversation with a guy called Samson. The prosecutor asked the court to cancel the next witness in a reason that the witness will give of evidence is the same. The court agreed and gave an order to transcribe the testimony of the witness, to pay for the translator. The court fixed the next day to hear the remaining witnesses for prosecution.