Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ethiopian 'coup plot' trial opens

Ethiopian prosecutors on Tuesday accused a group of jailed opposition figures of conspiring with Eritrean-backed rebels to foment a coup by inciting violence after disputed elections last year.

Laying out the state's case against the 111 defendants on the opening day of their trial, prosecutor Shimeles Kemal said the group had worked with rebels supported by Asmara to destabilize the government in Addis Ababa.

"They have been collaborating with a clandestine Ethiopian organization, the Ethiopian Patriotic Front, which is supported by the Eritrean government and has openly declared an armed struggle to overthrow the government," he said.

The 111 - 101 individuals, four political parties and six newspapers - all stand charged with conspiracy to foment a coup, while 54 face more serious charges ranging from high treason to genocide that could draw death sentences.

Those charged with high treason, including nearly the entire leadership of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), have been specifically linked to the previously unknown Ethiopian Patriotic Front, Shimeles said.

Full report Sudan Tribune 3 May 2006.


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