Cases against Jawar Mohamed dropped
An Ethiopian court has thrown out six cases against prominent media owner Jawar Mohamed, all of which are related to possession of illegal weapons. Jawar Mohammed who is also a politician was arrested along with several others in July last year following violence in the country following the assassination of Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa. More than 80 people have been killed in violence over the death of the 34-year-old singer, who has had a profound impact on the Oromo community.
Bekele Gerba and Dejene Tafa, both from the same Oromo ethnic group, are among the political leaders on trial with Mr. Jawar. Reportedly, Judges ruled that the acquitted cases did not violate Ethiopia’s illegal possession of firearms. But the accused men are still facing four more charges, including terrorism and media corruption. Mr. Jawar claims that the case against him and other political prisoners are politically motivated and its sole purpose is to stop them to run for public office in the upcoming Ethiopian election which is scheduled in June.
Jawar has previously faced terrorism charges – while in exile in the United States.
The lawsuit was related to his work for the Oromia Media Network (OMN), of which he was the head, but the case was dropped when Abiy Ahmed took office in April 2018. The move was part of a series of changes by the new Prime Minister. Abiy Ahmed and Jawar Mohamed were once allies, but when Jawar returned to the country he began to accuse Mr Abiy of not doing enough to address the long-standing grievances of the Oromo community and mismanaging the transition to democratize the country towards its first free and fair election.