Ethiopia opposition refuse plea in treason, genocide trial

By Tsegaye Tadesse
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian opposition members facing treason and genocide charges their leader dismissed as "fiction" refused to enter pleas on Thursday but the court said the trial would proceed and entered not guilty pleas for them.
The 129 opposition members were among thousands arrested after two separate outbreaks of violence last year in which at least 82 people were killed as protesters clashed with police and troops over election results they said were rigged.
"I will not respond to the charges, which I consider fiction," the chairman of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) Hailu Shawel told the court.
Of the 129 prisoners facing charges, only 91 were present in court and the rest were charged in absentia. Under Ethiopia's penal code, silence on the part of an accused is treated as a not guilty plea. More....

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at10:22 PM

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