August 30, 2018 – The Ethiopian Federal High Court on Thursday denied bail to former President of the Ethiopian Somali regional state, Abdi Mohammed Omer, a.k.a Abdi Illey, and three other former senior officials of the state.
Abdi Illey and other defendants were accused of committing human rights violations as well as instigating ethnic and religion based violence in which more than 50 people were reportedly killed and tens of thousands displaced.
Police charged the suspects for allegedly causing displacement of members of non-Somali ethnic groups by instigating ethnic-based attacks by the Somali youth group called Hego, which according to the police was formed, armed and deployed by the suspects appearing in court.
Ethiopian federal police also charged the suspects for torching churches in the regional state.
Other suspects who appeared before the court along with Abdi Illey were the region’s former Women and Children Affairs Bureau Head, Rahma Mohammed, Regional Diaspora Bureau Head, Abdurazak Amin, and Infrastructure Bureau Head, Sultan Mohammed.
Although the suspects asked for their bail rights mentioning that they were sick and being diagnosed for hypertension, gastric alcer and poor provision of health facilities and meals at the detention center, the court denied the bail request.
Ethiopian police objected their request mentioning that the criminal activities they have been charged with are more inclined to Article 3 of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 652/2009 which does not allow the release of suspects on bail.
The court denied bail but permitted the suspects to have meals sent by their families. The court also permitted the suspects to get better treatment outside prison in case of serious illness.
The court adjourned the case until September 14, 2018.