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Police Gain Custody Rights of Opposition Party Leaders


July 10 , 2020
By FASIKA TADESSE ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )


A judge at Arada Bench of the Federal First Instance Court granted police 14 days of custody rights for the investigation of Yilikal Getnet, the chairperson of the Ethiopian National Movement (ENM), who is suspected of the alleged instigation of violence.

During the court session that was held on the afternoon of Saturday July 4, 2020, police have accused Yilikal for allegedly taking part in fueling political violence that occurred in the capital after the death of famous singer Hachalu Hundessa. The singer was gunned down on the night of June 29, 2020, on the outskirts of the capital.

Yilikal was placed under arrest on Thursday, July 2, 2020. The latest arrest of Yilikal pushed the number of opposition party leaders held in custody, after the instability inflicted across the country following the death of Hachalu, to four.



A day before Yilikal’s arrest, police detained Eskindir Nega, the founder of Balderas for Real Democracy, who is suspected of an alleged instigation of a gathering of young people to fight off outside protesters in the capital city, leading to deaths and property damage, according to the claim.

Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba, members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), along with Hamza Borena were arrested on June 30, 2020. They were held under police custody along with 32 individuals including body guards of Jawar, who were arrested after an incident between them and police that resulted in the death of a police officer.


During their court session held on Thursday, police accused them of allegedly intercepting the body of Hachalu at the Oromia Cultural Centre while it was on its way to his hometown. They were also accused of allegedly organising a mob to execute this mission.




The judge, who presided over the case, gave police 14 days of custody rights for the investigation of the suspects including Eskindir while it gave 11 days and 13 days for Jawar and Bekele, respectively.

Police have also arrested five individuals who were suspected of alleged involvement in the murder of Hachalu. Two of them were arrested on the same night of his death, while another lady was jailed the following day. Two more were arrested on Thursday, one of which was arrested while he was trying to flee the country.

The first three suspects were brought before the court on Thursday and the court gave police a 14-day right of custody for further investigation against the suspects.


Hachalu, who was shot and killed in his car on Monday around 9:30pm according to the Police report, was laid to rest in his hometown of Ambo amid tight security. After he was shot with two bullets, he was taken to Lebu Star Clinic located in Lebu area. When he reached the Clinic he was already dead, according to eyewitnesses. He was then taken to the St. Paul Hospital for forensic examination around 11:00pm. His body departed from the hospital the next morning around 8:00am.

The death of Hachalu, who was popularly known for his political songs that focused on freedom, has sparked massive protests across the country that claimed the lives of over 97 people.

The next day after his death, youth armed with stones and sticks roamed the streets in the city, shattering the windows of buildings and vehicles parked on the sides of the roads. The Addis Abeba Police Commission reported 10 deaths in the capital and damage to 254 vehicles. About 30 vehicles were also turned into ash.



PUBLISHED ON Jul 10,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1054]






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