Amharic stringer Eskinder Frew reported on Monday that in appearances before an
Addis court, the cases of the more than 40 Ethiopians suspected of a terrorist
plot to assassinate three high-level officials of the government and destroy
telecommunication and power facilities have been delayed for an added 14 days.
A lawyer for one of the defendants told VOA that the court
took no legal action against the suspects, who have not been charged. Only two
of three have been identified publicly by the government since the arrests of
35 suspects on April 24. On Monday,
April 27, a judge gave the government 14 days to conclude an investigation and
charge or release each of the suspects.
However, the government took no action today as groups of
those accused were led through the court while citizens stood outside the court
asking for information about missing family members. Suspects driven to court in military vehicles
were shielded from public view, two or three to a car.
Among those previously identified by the government are
Brigadier General Tefera Mamo and Melaku Tefera, a former Coalition for Unity
and Democracy party official. Following
more arrests a few days after the first sweep, the government announced that five
more arrests has been made and named Brigadier General Asaminew Tsige as one of
six military officers now in jail as suspects.
Others believed in jail on terrorism charges include a
wedding videographer who is the cousin of one leader of Ginbot 7 and the brother
and the 80-year-old father of another.
The government says the Ginbot 7 leaders Berhanu Nega of Bucknell
University in Pennsylvania and Andargachew Tsige of London are behind what the
government first called plans for an attempted coup d’etat. A government spokesman later amended their
charge said that because a coup was not possible under the current
administration the purpose of the alleged assassination plot was terrorism.
Ginbot 7 is an organization formed
by Ethiopian arrested following the 2005 national elections in which Berhanu
Nega was elected mayor of Addis.
Berhanu, Melaku and other opposition leaders such as Birtukan Mideksa,
served approximately two years in prison following street violence between
demonstrators and police in which dozens
died. Birtukan, a former judge, now serves a life sentence in an