Court reverses decision, keeps Bekele Gerba in prison
By Africanews
Nov. 1, 2017

Even if released on bail, Bekele Gerba faces some serious criminal charges that are taken for granted of being "politically motivated."

Ethiopia’s Supreme Court has backtracked on an earlier decision to grant bail to Bekele Gerba, a leading opposition chief. This follows an appeal by state prosecutors even before he was released from detention.

 

The Addis Standard news portal reported that his release by prison authorities was delayed with the excuse of an administrative mix-up. With the latest development he is supposed to file a response to the latest decision.

Gerba, a top official of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) was granted bail after being held two years in detention. The court on Monday overturned a high court refusal to grant him bail on several occasions. He is facing multiple criminal charges.

The Supreme Court imposed a bail bond of 30,000 birr (equivalent to about $1100). At the time, his daughter was reported to have said she doubted if authorities will release her dad whiles activists and rights watchers said the charges against him ought to be dropped due to their political nature.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate described him as deputy Chairman of OFC, whose main leader Merera Gudina remains in detention for similar charges. Gudina was arrested on December 1, 2016 after he returned from a political engagement in Brussels.

Bekele along with Dejene Fita Geleta, secretary general of OFC and 20 others were arrested in late 2015 in connection with the 2015 Oromo protests that resulted in the death of hundreds of protesters.

They were accused of inciting the deadly protests and having links with outlawed political party Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) which has been labeled a terrorist organisation by the government.


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