Mr Lidetu Ayalew

Mr Lidetu’s Court hearing on 30 Oct/20

Mr Lidetu Ayalew, one of EDP’s founder & longest-serving leadership, appeared before Oromia Highest Court in Adama today.

Today’s Court appointment was to hear Mr Lidetu’s lawyers submission against the charge & his bail application.

The judge explained, as the first oral submission from Mr Lidetu’s lawyers against the charge has not yet been completed in written format, the Court would be unable to deliberate on the matter. The Court further explained, the person who was tasked to complete the written format is still away on holiday.

The judge then invited the prosecution and the defence lawyers to submit their opinion regarding adjourning the hearing.

The prosecution submitted it has no objection to the adjournment. However, Mr Lidetu’s lawyers stressed their client’s case should be expedited without any undue delay – particularly in light of his pressing medical conditions.

The defence team stressed that, even though the bail application should have been dealt with in 48 hours per the law of the land, it is now more than a week since the bail application is submitted. As a result, Mr Lidetu’s lawyers submitted, based on oral submission, the Court should deliberate and rule on the bail application.

The judge accepted Mr Lidetu is entitled to due expedition of justice; however, until the oral submission is changed to a written format to the Court, the Court would be unable to deliberate on the matter.

The Court adjourned for the 20th of Nov/20 to deliberate on the bail application and to hear Mr Lidetu’s lawyers submission against the charge.

As the days go by, the Court drama is not only unfolding unabated but also the whole matter is going from bad to worse. We have seen it before. We have been there. We certainly got the message from the regime. It is now becoming indefensible. Mr Lidetu is arrested and charged simply for exercising his constitutionally enshrined right – freedom of speech.

This is a big joke and a mockery of justice on the part of the incumbent regime and total disregard for the legal system with serious implications. It will undoubtedly remain as a big scar on PM Abiy’s conscience.

Mr Lidetu was arrested on 24 July 2020 and has been in police custody for the last 98 days. He appeared so far before Bishoftu Woreda Court 5 times, at East Shewa High Court 10 times and at Oromia Highest Court 6 times.

It is to be remembered that the police blatantly defied the Court’s order to release Mr Lidetu on bail five times.

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