Ethiopia’s Federal High Court will hand down sentences to 38 imprisoned opposition leaders and journalists on July 9, the body has announced. Following reports that members of the opposition facing charges of “genocide” and attempted coup d’etat signed a document confessing to the crimes in return for their release, it was expected that the court would speed up the date of the ruling. The announcement dashed the hopes of friends and relatives of the accused.
Leaders of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) reportedly signed the document after days of negotiation with the government via a mediators. The identities of the mediators were not made public, but there is widespread speculation that they are from the US. The arrests came after some 193 people were killed during protests in Addis Ababa following the May 2005 general elections the opposition says was rigged. (Daily Monitor, Addis Ababa, via AllAfrica, June 28)