- The Ethiopian court has ordered that the 41 alleged coup plotters to remain behind bars while prosecution prepares to lay the charges. The group was arrested more than a month ago for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Ethiopian regime and to assassinate the top leaders.
Local news reports said a number relatives had gathered around the court in the capital Addis Ababa yesterday to see their loved ones, since the suspects were arrested on 24 April, they were not allowed visitors.
The government prosecutor has requested the court for time to refer and consult relevant laws with evidences of the case as per criminal code, a move which the court accepted giving the prosecution 14 days.
Human rights activists have condemned the detention without a charge, saying the suspects' detention was unconstitutional. “All the families have been denied their constitutional right to visit their relatives. No one is willing to grant them, and the government pretends it doesn’t know,” the activists said.
However, the government spokesperson has argued that the Ethiopian law does not place any limit on length of detention.
Meanwhile local reports have also revealed that the wives of the alleged coup suspects have not been spared the drama surrounding the alleged coup plot, saying the wives of the alleged plotters and children were also detained for two weeks.
Reports further said some of the officers have been brutally tortured by the secret police, while their lawyers are not allowed to consult their clients including being shut out of court hearing.
Ethiopian authorities have named only two of the prisoners despite numerous calls from international rights groups that they name and charge all the 41 detainees.
Ethiopia is well known for quashing opposition voices, with the secret security forces having reportedly killed close to 200 protesters after the parliamentary elections in 2005 when the opposition disputed the victory of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government.
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