By Biruk Alemu @Birukalemu21
Addis Abeba: Former Assistant Professor at Dilla University, Wolaita National Movement (WNM)central committee member, and Wolaita statehood advocate, Asefa Wodajo, is still in Soddo police custody despite being granted 60,000 birr bail, on his 24th of August court appearance, according to his wife, Mentewab Gebreselassie, who spoke to Addis Standard.
During the 19 August court hearing, the Soddo town public prosecutor charged Asefa Wodajo with ‘spreading hate speech and fake news for the purpose of inciting chaos and causing insecurity’ using videos through his Facebook account, Asefa Oyato Wodajo, which currently has nearly 33,000 followers. It can be recalled Addis Standard had learned that Asefa had argued before the court for bail rights, due to what he said were ‘ difficulties for his family ‘, accordingly the court had ordered the completion of the investigation on the defendant and adjourned the hearing for 24 August 2022.
The Soddo Police Department had claimed that a task force had been established and it was not possible to release Asefa Wodao, who on the other hand claimed that his charges weren’t curtailing bail rights, without the decision of this task force and requested the family to return back the next morning. The spouse of the defendant, Mentewab Gebreselassie informed Addis Standard that they had returned the following morning only to be told that there was a petition presented against Asefa, hence it will not be plausible to free him.
The next court hearing has been set for 8 September when the defendant is expected to offer a response to the charges.
Asefa Wodajo is one amongst a set of individuals who have been jailed following tensions between civilians and security forces in the Wolaita Zone in connection with the growing movement for statehood. Several politicians, journalists, civil servants, and activists have been jailed and freed for the past two years.
Addis Standard had recently reported that Asefa Wodajo was taken by security forces from his home, a little over three weeks, on 7 August. AS