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Ethiopian opposition slams court decision as "shame" verdict.

August 16, 2009(ADDIS ABABA) -- After a guilty verdict handed down by an Ethiopian court against its top leaders last week, the opposition Movement for Justice Freedom and Democracy (Ginbot 7) has rejected the court's decision calling it "another shame trial by the illegitimate and ethnocentric regime" Last week the Federal High Court of Ethiopia in absentia convicted 13 top leaderships of the movement for coup plot. According to the government, the group had planned to kill senior government ministers, blow up major public facilities, and incite public protest and there by topple government. "We have witnessed the same old discredited pattern of a rogue regime concocting false charges, building a case against the political opponents based on confessions obtained under duress, parading false witnesses and then convicting them to death or to long prison terms," the Ginbot 7 said in a statement received by Sudan Tribune. The group denounced the manipulation of justice by the government to persecute opponents on an invalid basis. "Ethiopians know the verdict has already been signed sealed and delivered to the black robbed henchmen at the kangaroo court." "Ginbot 7 strongly condemns the egregious violations of the human rights and civil liberties of these political prisoners and calls on all who subscribe to democratic values and to the protection of universal human rights to stand with the Ethiopian people in their fight against this dictatorship." it added The 13 convicted leaders of Ginbot 7 are mostly based in the United States and Britain; another 32 men in Ethiopia. They are mainly former and current army personnel, including two generals who have been charged. Three have been bailed and 29 are in custody. The prosecution has presented its case and the defense trial will resume on August 26. The group is led by an Ethiopian born US national, professor; Birhanu Naga. He is one among the convicts on the coup plot charges. He was elected mayor of the capital, Addis Ababa, after elections in 2005, but was later arrested along with other opposition leaders and accused of orchestrating the street protests. He was pardoned in 2007 along with a number of opposition leaders. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Aug 17, 2009
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