Ethiopia: Opposition Criticizes Verdict in Killing

Above: An opposition candidate for Ethiopia’s Parliament was
stabbed to death on (March 2) in what opposition leaders said
was part of a widening campaign of repression ahead of May
elections. (NYT)

Ethiopia: Opposition Criticizes Verdict in Killing
The New York Times
By JASON McLURE
Published: March 15, 2010

A leader of Ethiopia’s opposition alliance on Monday criticized a court verdict in the stabbing death of an opposition parliamentary candidate, accusing the ruling party of intimidating a key witness. The candidate, Aregawi Gebre-Yohannes, was killed March 2 at his restaurant in the Tigray region. The opposition said the candidate was killed by supporters of the ruling party. The killer, Tsegie Berhane, was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison, said Shimeles Kemal, a government spokesman. Mr. Tsegie was granted leniency because he had confessed, Mr. Shimeles said, adding that the accused was not a member of a party. “It was an arranged and orchestrated court,” said Gebru Asrat, a leader of the Arena party, part of the opposition alliance. He said witnesses who testified had been “involved in the killing.”

A version of this brief appeared in print on March 16, 2010, on page A6 of the New York edition.
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Related:
Voice of America
By Howard Lesser
The stabbing death of an opposition candidate in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region is raising new calls for an inquiry and an easing of 2009 repressive legislation that critics say is restraining political activity in the weeks leading up to this year’s 23 May general elections. Opposition figures contend that last week’s slaying of candidate Aregawi Gebreyohannes by five men at his home in Shire has aroused fears of a recurrence of 2005 post-election violence. As many as 200 protesters were killed five years ago by security forces, and thousands of others were arrested for challenging the results of a disputed nationwide vote. Senior East Africa Researcher Leslie Lefkow of human rights watch says that Aregawi Gebreyohannes’ slaying last Monday night was most likely politically motivated. Read more.

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Candidate Is Stabbed to Death in Ethiopia (The New York Times)


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