Ethiopian supreme court suspends bail of Oromo opposition figure

November 1, 2017
‍Bekele Gerba visited Washington, D.C., to bring his concerns about Ethiopia to the State Department. The photo was taken when he came to NPR for a radio interview.Mahafreen H. Mistry/NPR

 Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-02 00:24:41

|Editor: Mu Xuequan

ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's Federal Supreme Court cassation bench on Wednesday suspended bail for prominent Oromo opposition figure Bekele Gerba who is in prison on terrorism charges.

The decision to suspend his bail, granted by a lower court on Monday, followed appeal by prosecutors against his bail.

Gerba, deputy head of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), has been in jail for almost two years over terrorism charges relating to allegations of instigating unrest in Ethiopia's largest regional state Oromia.

OFC is the main opposition party to the ruling coalition Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in the restive central Oromia regional state.

The Federal High Court criminal bench on Monday approved a 1,110-U.S.-dollar (30,000 Ethiopian birr) bail for Gerba with the charges to be heard with him being outside prison.

Oromia has seen large anti-government protests by ethnic Oromos since the end of 2015, leaving hundreds of dead.

A martial law declared in October 2016 was lifted in August, but deadly anti-government protests renewed earlier this month in Oromia. Release of Oromo opposition leaders, including Gerba, was among demands posed by the protesters.

Oromos, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group making up a third of the country's estimated population of 100 million, have complained of decades of economic, political and social marginalization by successive governments.


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