Addis Abeba, Oct. 30/2017 – Ethiopia’s Federal Supreme Court has today accepted the appeal for bail from the defense team of prominent opposition figure Bekele Gerba, first Secretary General of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). The Supreme court’s decision overrules a decision on Aug. 10 by a panel of three judges at the federal high court 4th criminal bench, which denied Bekele’s request for bail. The Supreme Court ruled to grant Bekele’s bail for 30, 000 birr (about US$1, 094. 00.)
Bekele Gerba was first charged in April 2016 along with 21 defendants. Other defendants with him include Dejene Fita Geleta, Secretary General of OFC, and Gurmesa Ayano, another senior member of the party. They were initially charged with various articles of Ethiopia’s infamous Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) including but not limited to, alleged membership of the banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), public incitement, encouraging violence, as well as causing the death of innocent civilians and property destruction in cities such as Ambo and Adama, 125km west and 100km east of Addis Abeba, during the 2015-2016 Oromo protests in Ethiopia.