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Berhanu Nega is charged,in absentia, by Ethiopian court this week along with Merera Gudina,Chairman of Oromo Federalist Congress and Jawar Mohammed, head of Oromia Media Network.
He is accused of attempt to overthrow government and constitutional order through violence in addition to causing destruction of property estimated to be over one billion Ethiopian birr. Needless to say, the charge against Berhanu,and the two other persons mentioned above, insinuate that the year long anti-government protest is organized by opposition. And the obvious assumption, on the part of the ruling TPLF, is that Ethiopians do not have political questions,political awarness or problem with the government- which is not only unrealistic but also demeaning as far as Ethiopians are concerned.
As far as Berhanu Nega is concerned, it is not first time for him to be charged by Ethiopian court in absentia. In 2009, he was accused in connection with allegedly attempted coup d’etat along with General Tefera Mamo, among others, who was subjected to inhuman torture at Maekelawi and still languishes in prison. As it turns out, Berhanu Nega was sentenced to death.
That was not it. He is sentenced to death in absentia again when he was accused along with renowned journalist Eskinder Nega – who is in prison serving long prison terms for trumped up charges.
Berhanu Nega is currently chairman of Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 – a rebel group operating along the Ethio-Eritrean border. Sisay Agena of ESAT spoke to him online to get his remarks about the new charge laid this week. Asked what he felt about it, he replied “I don’t take it seriously.” He has a story to depict predictability of unpredictability of the regime in power in terms of its legal system. “This is,” he continues “a government that has ordered the arrest of a judge from his bench in the court room.”
But why is the government charging Berhanu Nega this time around is another question that Sisay Agena posed to him. He thinks that it is not intended to intimidate him rather to further intimidate resistance at home. In his eyes, the regime is despaired due to, apparently, mounting legitimacy crisis and that, at times,it does not even know what kinds of measures to take. He also cited the alleged division within the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front.Overall, Berhahu seem to be optimistic about the struggle he is leading as chairman of Arbegnoch Ginbot 7.
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