Thirty-four opposition figures get life

Thirty-four opposition figures get life

ADDIS ABABA – An Ethiopian court sentenced 35 opposition members to life in prison yesterday, rebuffing a prosecution request that they be executed for trying to overthrow the government, treason and inciting violence.

The remaining eight defendants, including four journalists, were ordered to serve terms of between 18 months and 18 years. “The accused have committed serious crimes, which caused the death of civilians and security forces and attempted to overthrow the government,” Judge Adil Ahmed told the court.”The accused have also failed to present to the court mitigating evidences for the charges brought against them.”The defendants, calling the case a politically motivated charade, had refused to present a defence despite court orders to do so.Thirty-eight defendants were present, while the rest were tried in absentia.Relatives and defendants in the court wept, while others held their head in their hands in apparent shock.The group was convicted last month on charges relating to violent protests over 2005 polls the opposition says were rigged.Nampa-Reuters”The accused have committed serious crimes, which caused the death of civilians and security forces and attempted to overthrow the government,” Judge Adil Ahmed told the court.”The accused have also failed to present to the court mitigating evidences for the charges brought against them.”The defendants, calling the case a politically motivated charade, had refused to present a defence despite court orders to do so.Thirty-eight defendants were present, while the rest were tried in absentia.Relatives and defendants in the court wept, while others held their head in their hands in apparent shock.The group was convicted last month on charges relating to violent protests over 2005 polls the opposition says were rigged.Nampa-Reuters

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