Court Grants Bail Right for Lidetu

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The Oromia Regional State East Shewa Zone Division of the Federal High Court granted a 100,000 birr bail to Lidetu Ayalew, founder of the opposition Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP).

The decision by the court in Bishoftu Town was passed today, and according to the lawyers who talked to Addis Standard, a local digital megazine, efforts to deposit the money and set the prominent political free are underway.

Lidetu had remained in custody since July 24, 2020, and was charged on September 17, 2020, with allegations of illegal possession of firearms.

Even though Lidetu was first detained with suspicions of funding and organizing protests in Bishoftu town, Oromia Regional State, following the Killing of Hachalu Hundesa, the final charges did not include such allegations.

It’s to be recalled that in the final pre-trial hearing of the case held on August 31, 2020, the prosecutors stated that the police had finished their investigation and asked the court to give them additional time for the prosecution to build the case.   

However, the court in Bishoftu rejected the prosecutors’ request. It closed the criminal investigation case of Lidetu, stating there was no legal justification to hold him under police custody any longer.

As the case file was closed, Lidetu had to ask for his bail right in a new case file. But before Lidetu was able to free himself, prosecutors in East Shewa Zone filed their charges at the high court, starting formal proceedings.  

At the high court, Lidetu again asked for his bail right while prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk and would intimidate witnesses if released.

At today’s hearing, the court ruled in favor of Lidetu, set the bail on 100,000 birr, and remanded the case to September 30, 2020.