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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Open letter from... Accused number 44 under the Case File Engineer Hailu Shawel

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news:
[March 5 court news, Addis Abeba (satire)] - [Gossip column on Tamrat Layne ] - [Foreign suspect detained in Ethiopia Protests his innocence ]

[Sudanese ICC suspect says inspired by Saddam ] - [In shift, US to join Iran, Syria in talks about Iraq ] - [Castro makes first live comments since illness ] - [China Stock Markets Bounce Back] - [Picasso paintings stolen in Paris ] and more of today's top stories!


March 2 - worldwide candlelight vigil for prisoners of Conscience in Ethiopia

March 4 - Candlelight vigil in front of the White House

100,000 letters-in-ten-days campaign

Surely, by now you have heard of the 100,000 letters-in-10-days campaign, but have you participated yet? (More...)_____________________________________________________

Open letter from... Accused number 44 under the Case File Engineer Hailu Shawel

(Ato Berhane Mewa)


(Audio)Letter narrated by Berhane Mewa

[The following is not real news – it was sent to us by a reader who found the whole courtroom drama comedic. It’s a satirical piece that demonstrates the absurdity of the current Ethiopian judiciary]

March 5 court news, Addis Abeba (satire)

Ethiopian News Agency (ENA)

The federal high court of Ethiopia today, once again, adjourned the trial of human rights activists, journalists, and opposition party leaders till April 22, 2009. The court asserted that the documents provided by the election board and speech of CUD Chairman Hailu Shawl - recently translated to Amharic, should also be translated into Geeze --Ethiopia’s oldest language.

The court acknowledged the importance of the Geeze language and added this decision should be seen as a clear Support for Ethiopia’s historical past.

In the spirit of global unity and solidarity, federal high court judge, judge Adil - also added the election board documents and CUD chairman Hailu Shawel’s speech at the NPC should be translated into Swahili, Ndebele, Arabic, pashtune, Dutch, French and Japanese.

"We are part of the global community" Judge Adil said, "no one should be left out".

Commenting on the court’s ruling, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia said he was inspired by the court’s deep sense of history and commitment to the global community.

Mr. Zenawi also suggested one more name to add to the list, the recently discovered tribes of the Amazon, the Matis Indians.

"They too are part of the global community" added the prime minister, "we should not discriminate against anyone".

In addition to the above mentioned languages, footnotes to the rulings also disclose the documents will be translated into all the eighty-two ethnic languages of Ethiopia.

Inside sources confirm there is talk of translating the documents into “the braille system”, a system of raised letters used by People who are legally blind to read by touching with fingers.

Fortune's Gossip column on Tamrat Layne


Time flies, wondered gossip corridor. The saga that was unfolding before the nation when Tamrat Layne, once second in charge in the camp of the Revolutionary Democrats, was confessing guilt on a live televised parliamentary showdown feels like it was just happened couple of years ago.

Negussie Hailu, one of the convicted people in the charge, was out only last year, after serving a sentence of 12 years. Of course, he had stayed in prison for not more than eight years, enjoying the four years deduction on probation.

Gossip was abuzz last week with the news of release of yet another prominent personality of this case: prison doors were open to Shadia Nadim on Tuesday afternoon, February 20, who had served a sentence of 14 years: she must have stayed in jail for 10 years; she too was given probation of four years.

It is now Tamrat Layne that is left behind bars, still serving a sentence of 16 years, found guilty by the Supreme Court of grand corruption. He will probably stay for another two years, depending on the results of the ongoing trail he was charged as accomplice in the Seyee Abraha et el vs. the Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission.

According to gossip corridor, Shadia has left the country the following day to Djibouti. It is a country where a disputed 2.5 million dollars had been kept, in the accounts of Ramis International Plc, at the Indo-Swiss Mearuge.

Although it license was revoked back in the 1990s, this was a company originally formed with shares held between Hussein Kassim, Shadia’s son, and Bezualem Melaku, a mother of Tamrat. Bezualem later on left the company after transferring her shares to Wissam Abdella Kassim, another son of Shadia, who had been managing the company since 1995. He now lives outside of the country.

This was in fact an amount claimed by Sheik Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi three years ago, in his charges filed at the Federal High Court. It was an attempt to recover 16 million dollars the Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that Shadia and Nugussie should pay Al-Amoudi. In this charge, Al-Amoudi had claimed Shadia’s admittance before the Federal Police, during investigation in 1996, that she had deposited 2.5 million dollars in Indo-Swiss.

Gossip wondered whether this case is still pending.

Foreign suspect detained in Ethiopia Protests his innocence


A man on trial over his alleged involvement in the 21 July terror plot protested his innocence after he was detained in Ethiopia, a jury has heard.

Adel Yahya, 24, told police who flew out to quiz him that he knew the other people held over the alleged failed attack on the London transport network.

But he said he "should not be found guilty by association", Woolwich Crown Court heard. Mr Yahya and five other men deny conspiracy to murder. They also have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions.(More...)

Sudanese ICC suspect says inspired by Saddam

(Reuters) - A Sudanese official named as a possible Darfur war criminal said he drew inspiration from the example of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein at his execution in Baghdad in December.

On Tuesday the International Criminal Court named the official, minister of state for humanitarian affairs Ahmed Mohammed Haroun, and the Sudanese newspaper Akhbar al-Youm published the interview with him on Wednesday.

Asked how he felt about the case, Haroun said: "I don't know why I recall the footage of Saddam's execution when the whole world saw him take strong confident steps towards the gallows.

"The late Saddam on that day was more steadfast than his executioners. God willing, we are capable of taking such steadfast attitudes, which will shake the Muslim and Arab world."(More...)

Index on Censorship nominates Yalemzewd Bekele for her outstanding defence of freedom of expression

ETP - Index on Censorship annually presents its award to courageous journalists, writers, lawyers, campaigners, filmmakers and whistleblowers from around the world who have made a significant contribution to free expression over the past year.

This year, Ethiopian Human rights activist Yalemzewd Bekele is nominated for her “outstanding defense of freedom of expression” and is in contention to win The Bindman’s Law and Campaigns Award 2007. This award will be presented to campaigning human rights organisations or individual lawyers.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Liberia's ex-leader 'stole $1m' (Liberia's ex-President Gyude Bryant has been charged with embezzling more than $1m while in office)
-In shift, US to join Iran, Syria in talks about Iraq
-Human Rights Watch lists 39 secret CIA detainees
-War-weary Afghans fear spring offensive by Taliban
-Canada's Parliament scraps 2 anti-terror measures
-China Stock Markets Bounce Back
-Castro makes first live comments since illness
-Picasso paintings stolen in Paris (At least two Picasso paintings with a combined value of 50 million euros (£33.7m) have been stolen from his granddaughter's home in Paris)