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Meddling in the Affairs of the Judicial System is not a Principle of Democracy

By Hailay Tadesse
Tigrai Onlne - July 11, 2014

It’s becoming fashionable to see neo-liberal extremist forces and local oppositions interfering in our country’s judicial system, without presenting any evidence, at various times. I think its obvious what the consequence will be if the same situation happens in the country of the neo-liberal extremists. This is because, in any country, the negative outcome that will come out of interfering in a case that’s being handled by the judicial system and the subsequent negative impact is well known.

In parallel, with regards to this, it can safely be said that there are no neo-liberal institution or oppositions that didn’t try to interfere in the trial by meddling in the affair of our country’s judicial courts.  Especially, pseudo-human rights advocate, neo-liberal extremist groups like the lights of ‘CPJ’, ‘Human Rights Watch’, ‘Freedom Now’ etc … had gone as far as giving warning to our country following the Court’s ruling and sentence.

These neo-liberal institutions had at one time spewed some ridiculous propaganda in relation to the conviction made on some suspected terrorists, by meddling in the affair our country’s judicial courts. It includes claims like, “(the ruling) is politically motivated, lessens the severity of terrorism, and drops Ethiopia from the international standard’. And they also ask for the immediate release of Eskinder Nega without any precondition.

These chatters of the extremists can be seen from three perspectives. The first is the fact that they play down our country’s anti-terror law, and secondly they present Ethiopia as though the courts have no freedom. Thirdly, these neo-liberal extremist forces have tried to order the immediate release of convicted felon by violating the sovereignty of a country with the sternest of warnings. Before we look into the unethical remarks of these three neo-liberal extremist forces, it’s important to say a little about Ato Eskinder Nega. As its known Ato Eskinder Nega had been arrested for two years for conspiring with the members of the former (CUD) leadership to overthrow the constitution and constitutional system with force during election ’97. After two years of prison, Ato Eskinder and his peers’ wrote an apology letter to the government in which he and the others pleaded not to get involved in any anti-peace (anti-public) activities and, should they do get involve in similar activities, they gave their consent to go back straight to prison. Our country’s government which strictly adheres to democratic principles and view tolerance as an asset of democracy, accepted the apology letters of Ato Eskinder and others and decided to free them as per the law - thinking in part they will learn from their past mistakes and will start to behave.

Upon being released from prison, Ato Eskinder went straight into activities that provoke havoc (riot) and terror, let alone learn from his mistakes. In fact (many readers of this article) will remember how after he was released out of prison, he was so busy on continuing with his conspiring mission started during election ’97 both covertly and overtly.

Most people know that he’s a close-minded and hateful politician that is irritated by the rapid economic growth of this country and people. At the time, he didn’t want to come out of his closet to the open with his close-minded opposition. Instead he wanted to be known for a sham personality. The fact that some members of the free press, with the same the stance as him, labeled him “journalist, analyst, blogger” can he an evidence to this. As far as I can understand a person that violates and infringes the country’s law and one who longs for riot and havoc does not have the right to say that he/she is a “journalist, analyst or blogger”. All in all what Ato Eskinder used to hide himself is what his stern defender like the lights of ‘CPJ’ is using today – operating under a false pretense.

However, the man’s chosen profession asks everyone to be neutral and objective journalism is a profession which works for the peoples benefit, it doesn’t strives to send our country’s people in to riot and destruction away from its developmental benefit, like he’s doing. Basically the profession ethics strictly opposes the undermining of the truth which is the activity he’s actively involved in. thus this person should not proclaim himself to be journalist’, while not fulfilling any of the criteria the profession (job) demands – including his minions.

The Ethiopian people including myself all know Ato Eskinder Nega is neither an analyst nor a blogger. And we don’t have to go too far, to prove this truth. His novel like reports and hateful propagations published under his real name and sometimes with his penname are more than enough confirmation of this truth. The horde of lies the man came up with on newspapers that are sponsored by the oppositions, after his release from jail, shows for what he really is - a traitor, mad and narrow-minded. So, if anybody is referring to him as “journalist, analyst or blogger”, then that person is either wrong or making fun of him.

I hope my dear readers that I’m not saying this out of the blue, but by basing it on facts on the ground. Of course I can provide many instances, from his own articles and his creative works were he reflected his thinking, to corroborate my above claim. In order to help understand the man’s personality, I will walk down the memory lane and raise some instances.

The first of my probing hovers around ‘Awramba Times’ newspaper, and the second is the article the man presented on the floor of the opposition’ Andinet Party’; a party that’s currently embroiled in a media spat weather to integrate or not with AEUP, and also a party that has been marginalized from its mother-ship party ‘MEDREK’ with question of power. What I want my dear readers to understand here is that both the articles have no difference in their content; expect for place and time. This is because the article of the man that was published in the aforementioned newspaper was presented on the party’s general congregation as it is; so much that one can serve as an exact replica for the other.  Thus, I would like it to be noted that the consequent issues that I raise from the articles written on ‘Awramba Times’ newspaper from here on now also reflects the content of the speech that was presented at ‘Andinet’ party’s general congregation.

At that time a title that reads, “Although the EPRDFites don’t want to say out in the public that a revolution is coming to Ethiopia, they know it”, was put in the front page. Immediately below this title, a tag that’s written as ‘Eskinder Nega’ (journalist and analyst) was there. Also man’s photo can be seen next to the tag. Knowing how much the man is hateful, I was immediately drawn to read what the man put out; thinking ‘What is it this time?’

However, I was immediately struck and confused with the word ‘revolution’. Though there is no clear indication of which revolution is coming to Ethiopia, I was sure that there is one thing the man wanted to tell us. Of course this remark has made me pause and ask if it really was given by Eskinder Nega; considering the fact that the man describes himself as a “journalist” or something else. And I was left baffled by the fact that the newspaper used its own reporters as source, when it could have easily used better people or even opposition sympathizers. When I delve into the article, I found Ato Eskinder Nega to be outside of basic journalistic ethical procedure and his writing to be shadowed and mustered by close-minded politics. In this article, not only was he infringing the professions’ code of ethics, but he was also clearly violating the country’s anti-terror law by stirring the public to rise to street riots – part II of his ’97 conspiracy. This can be taken as ‘case number one’.

Despite my shortcomings in my memory, considering how long it has been, ergo part two goes like this … I should talk about the amazing prophetic and clear call for riot made by the man in the days which he masquerade as a journalist when in reality he was spearheading the opposition. “EPRDF will face problem if the party does not hold another election (before the term ends); the prime minister should step down; the students of Addis Ababa University should instigate the riot” are the few prophetic and concluded rubbish that were spewed by Ato Eskinder.

Of course I was immediately asking myself questions like, “Does the would-be journalist and analyst end up making conclusions and assumptions as a politician would?”, “How can he forget the basic elements of western journalism, which he believes in, of fairness, logic and social responsibility?” If a so-called journalist openly instigates students to riot, warns a prime minister to immediately leave his post and bash the constitutional order by asking for another election to be held (before the end of the term), it means that person is operating above the law and rule. And as the government has the duty and responsibility to upheld the rule of law and protect the wellbeing of its citizen, it has brought the person before the court of law.

Thus, as Ato Eskinder was again found involved in violating the country’s rule and law by flaunting a hidden political agenda, and as he intentionally disregarded his pardon and was found embroiled in the same anti-public activities, he was again sent to jail. And as he was found guilty in a court of law, he was sentenced for 18 years in prison. 

Though the accused appealed to the Court of Cassation, the conviction and sentence was upheld by the Ethiopian Federal Supreme Court … dear readers , I’m sure based on this few details you have a picture of Ato Eskinder personality and understand the correctness of the court’s ruling. I’m sure you can understand, based on the aforementioned fine points, that the man was embroiled in terror activities by proponing riot and havoc, and the independent courts of our country passed the appropriate measure on him based on the country’s anti-terror law without any interference from the outside involvement. Of course the reality on the ground is not only this. Here it should be asked, ‘why does the neo-liberal extremist forces wanted to downplay our country’s anti-terror law?’, ‘why does they want to present the Ethiopian judicial courts as though they are not independent from outside influence when they know the facts on the ground?’, and ‘How come they go as far as to order, with strict warning, the release of the criminal by violating the sovereignty of a country and by infringing the jurisdiction of their cover job? Let us see...

Although the neo-liberal extremist forces tried to downplay the anti-terror law that was passed by house of people’s representatives of the nation, nationalities and people of our country, in a way that infringed their jurisdiction and responsibility, the truth on the ground is not as what they claim it to be. First of all, these groups does not have the legal right to interfere in a matter of (judicial matter no less) of a sovereign country. This is contempt of the highest order. They should not, driven by their ideological objective, talk about the judicial system or law of a certain country. They should stick to only talking about their cover job (human right advocacy).

Notwithstanding the fact that the jurisdiction of the institution is not concerned with the issue, but it must be said that the country’s anti-terror law is no different to other international terror laws. It can be said that the law is fully copied from western countries. So, it should be observed that the ruling of the courts does not intensify or lessen the severity of terrorism – as terrorism in any country is the same. There is no such thing as African, American or European terrorism. I don’t think even the neo-liberal extremists are daft enough to know that the danger of terrorism should be measured and considered to the fact that terrorism spills the blood of innocent civilians.    

I think these neo-liberal extremist institutions, who masquerade as a human right advocacy, should understand that a certain country formulate a law based on the country’s own reality on the ground and passes it in the hopes of protecting of the public’s peaceful interaction.

With regards to our country, in order for the development and democratic order building process to continue with its successful momentum, creating a lasting peace is an important and necessary step. This also because, for Ethiopia, whether or not it records rapid and sustainable growth is an existential issue. In guaranteeing (securing) peace, the country should protect against and control activities that are threats to its national security. One of the activities that are a threat to our country’s national security, and the main, is terrorist activities (terrorism). Although terrorism has its own causes and objectives, its disastrous outcome is obvious for all. And even through some riot-crazed opposition wannabes and there foreign masters twist its meaning to serve their sinister case and avoid themselves from being accountable, the fact is terrorism is a cruel  and heinous act that’s is not acceptable in any part of the world.

It’s widely believed that terrorism harms the public’s free movement, weakens the governments’ executive capabilities and hinders the peace, development and democratic order building process that is started in our country. So its advisable to understand that the measure is a correct stance taken based on the terror attacks attempted several times on our country’s national security, and on potential terrorist threats. In order to protect the country and its citizen’s security, and in order to carry out its national and continental responsibility with regards to terrorism, the government has passed an anti-terror law – although the neo-liberal extremists don’t want to hear this truth as it would mess up with their living.

Nevertheless, if these extremist forces, using Ato Eskinder’s case as a pretext to realize their hidden agenda of seeing a weakened Ethiopia are saying, “why do you protect your national security?”, “why are you carrying out your continental and international duty and responsibility?”, our country will have no other choice but to face this bogus and cheap propaganda as its politically motivated. This is also because even the terrorists themselves, let alone so-called human right advocacy, don’t do anything that would risk to a certain country and its people to a threat of terrorism. All in all, as the neo-liberal extremist institutions tried to downplay the provision that was passed by the FDRE house of peoples’ representatives and are choosing what kind of provision the country needs (violating the people’s sovereign power) is not acceptable.

The other thing that should be mentioned here is the cheap story they spewed in the hopes of tainting our country’s image by making it appear as if our country’s courts are not independent – though it’s not the concern of these extremist institutions about our country’s court procedure. However, as everyone knows our country’s courts are independent from politics; they operate neutrally and are modernizing their services. And this can be easily seen if one just simply came to the country see for himself instead of spewing spastic blabbers while sitting afar. However, my question still stands “Are the courts of our country going to be labeled as ‘not independent’, by the neo-liberal extremists, if Ato Eskinder and other suspected criminals are not freed, and conversely label it as ‘independent’ if they are set free?” if this is how they do business in their country, to each their own. But this would not be acceptable in our country as we don’t have a judicial system that contradicts to the principle of rule of law.

What baffles the writer of this article is the extremist group’s ridiculous talk of “Ato Eskinder should be released without any precondition”. Are these groups pitting themselves as the United Nation?  But if we take the fact these extremist forces make their living by criticizing countries that are becoming successful by following their own development path into account, then nothing what they say or come up is surprising.

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