News update: Lidetu Ayalew Remains in Police Custody Despite Oromia Supreme Court’s Decision to Grant Bail

by Mahlet Fasil @MahletFasil

Addis Abeba, October 07/2020 – Yesterday morning, October 06, 2020, the Oromia Supreme Court allowed release on bail for Lidetu Ayalew which was already granted by the East Shewa Court in Adama. Accordingly, the court rejected prosecutor’s appeal against the bail and adjured his release on bail. Nevertheless, Lidetu still remains in custody.

The court wrote a letter to the Bishoftu City Police Department requesting that the decision be upheld, but Adane Tadesse, president of the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), told Addis Standard that the police department that received the letter has not released him yet.

According to Adane, Lidetu Ayalew in his appearance at the court told the judges: “Honorable Court, I truly thank you for honoring my bail right. However, this decision is unlikely to be enforced as I am in the custody of a law enforcement body that does not comply with a court order. Therefore, I respectfully request that the court to order my release right here without me being returned to the police station so that the decision of the court can be respected.”

Adane said that right after the court’s session ended at around 10:00 am in the morning, he along with Lidetu’s lawyers took the Oromia Supreme court’s order written to the East Shewa Court and Bishoftu Police yesterday, October 6, 2020. The court order letter was submitted to the Bishoftu Police Registrar office at 2:25pm in the afternoon. It seems Lidetu is going to fall victim to the red tape.

“Despite efforts to secure the direct and clear order of the court release of Lidetu, the Bishoftu Police Station still didn’t release Lidetu in accordance with the court’s order.” said Adane.

Lidetu Ayalew was repeatedly denied bail in previous appeals, and later on September 22, 2020, was granted a 100,000 birr bail by the East Shewa Court allowing him to follow his case outside detention pending further investigation.

Adane also told Addis Standard that they have notified the situation to Dr Daniel Bekele, the Chief Commissioner of Ethiopian Human Rights Commission later in the afternoon.

It was recalled that the East Shewa zone prosecutors on September 17, 2020 pressed criminal charges on veteran opposition politician Lidetu Ayalew, founder of the opposition Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) for contravening Ethiopia’s newly enacted Firearm Administration & Control Proclamation 1177/2020, Art. 22/3. AS

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