Activist Abel Wabela, one of the co-founding members of Zone 9 community and former ground technician at Ethiopian Airlines, who was jailed for one year and five months with violation of anti-terror law won his court case against Ethiopian Airlines. While he was in jail, the Ethiopian Airlines administration terminated Abel’s work contract with the reason that he did not show up for work. And he took the issue to court claiming, “I can not go to work while I was in jail.”
His lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told VoA, “Abel was free of his criminal charges, whereas the airline canceled his contract for being absent. He told the airline that he could not show up because of the situation out of his control.” Ameha added, “Ethiopian airlines refused to accept Abel’s reason and we were forced to take the issue to court. The airline also pressed charges claiming that Abel should pay the educational cost to the airline’s academy.”
The issue started from the Federal Primary Court and finalized in the Federal Court of Appeal. The court made a decision that required Ethiopian Airlines to return him to his previous work or pay compensation for canceling a work contract without proper warning.
“The decision was a long-awaited relief for me,” said Abel Wabela after the court’s ruling. He added that there are positive signs in the legal system to amend laws. But still, lots work is needed to implement reforms in the system since the same old procedures are being applied. VoA reported that the same situation occurred when journalist Edom Kassaye who was jailed with Zone 9ers and her work contract was canceled by the NGO called Plan International.