News: Jimma Uni graduate, two others who remain in police custody against court order face new charges

From Left: Jimma university graduates Mohammed Deksiso, Mulugeta Shitee and University staffer Wondimu Legesse Abba Dafar (PhD)

By Siyanne Mekonnen @siyaanne 

Addis Abeba, March 04/2021 – The Police in Jimma city, Oromia regional states have brought new charges against Jimma university graduates Mohammed Deksiso, Mulugeta Shitee and University staffer Wondimu Legesse Abba Dafar (PhD), their lawyer Obsinan Girma told Addis Standard.

The three are facing new accusations for alleged involvement in a grenade attack which took place in October 2020 in Jimma city. Mohammed Deksiso was arrested on February 14 shortly after calling out ‘Free Jawar Mohammed, Justice for Hachalu Hundessa’ at a graduation ceremony of Jimma University, which was being attended by, among others, Shimelis Abdissa, President of Oromia regional state, and Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi. They remain detained after the police refused despite a court order to release them on bail.

According to Obsinan the graduating student Mohammed and the two in his file were presented to a local court on March 01 without the knowledge of their defense team. Once in the court, the police accused them of participating in the alleged grenade attack which claimed the life of an government security forces in Bocho Bore woreda, in Jimma city. The court granted the police to remand and investigate the three and adjourned the hearing until March 11, 2021.

Initially the three were brought to a court accused of “inciting violence and being affiliated with an armed group.” But on February 23, Jimma city district court granted 2000 ETB bail for each and closed the file for lack of sufficient evidence. But instead of releasing them from their custody, the police transferred them to a different police station where the court orders were not addressed to.

In a statement released on February 24, EHRC has called for their immediate release. The commission expressed its concerns about court orders not being respected in Oromia regional state and called for the release of Mohammed and many others who have been granted bail. The statement confirmed that Mohammed was beaten by the police and noticed that his legs were slightly swollen and affected his walking. AS

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