Tamerat Negera is released on 50 thousand Br bail. The Oromia Supreme Court ruled his release in response to an appeal by Tamerat’s defendant for his client’s right to bail.
Tamerat Negera, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Terara Network, is released after 118 days of detention and no formal charges are filed against him until now.
During the trial that preceded the Supreme Court hearing, Tamrat was arraigned in Gelan Town District Court on March 10, when the court ordered the prosecutors to file charges on the journalist within 15 days. The next day, Tamerat’s lawyer filed an appeal for bail.
The case of Tamerat’s appeal to bail was postponed five times since his lawyer opened a new file on March 12 at the Oromia Supreme Court to demand his client’s release on bail.
Tamerat was arrested on Dec 10, 2021, from his house by the police that claimed to need him for questioning. His whereabouts were unknown for seven days before his family was informed that he was imprisoned at Gelan Police Station.
In his second appearance in court, the Gelan district court closed the case and transferred it to the state of emergency command. However, Tamerat was not released after the state of emergency was lifted by the parliament on Feb 15 as the police decided to reopen the case and requested 14 days of investigation.
The police for the first time came up with the violations it claimed Tamerat committed during the court hearing on Feb 14. Among the alleged violations presented by the police are promoting the disintegration of Oromo unity, spreading information that advanced the benefit of TPLF, and defaming the Prime Minister.
During the hearing on Mar 10, Gelan district court ordered prosecutors from Oromia Attorney General to file formal charges against the defendant if they have sufficient grounds to indict. This was followed by Tamerat’s lawyer submitting an appeal to bail to the Oromia Supreme Court to which the court finally ruled Tamerat Negera’s release on bail.
Human Rights organizations such as Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Ethiopian Human rights commission (EHRC) have raised concerns about Tamerat’s arrest and called for his release.
“Even if there was a legal basis for journalist Tamerat’s detention, the circumstances of his continued detention with a remand order just an hour before the 48 hours legal limit, symbolizes an abuse of power and naked travesty of justice,” said EHRC in the statement it issued on Feb 17.