Ethiopian Supreme Court rejects prosecution’s appeal to bar Andargachew Tsige from testifying

By Tamiru Tsige

Federal prosecutors’ attempt to bar Andargachew Tsige from appearing before court as defense witness hit another snag on Wednesday with the Federal Supreme Court rejecting their appeal.

The highest judicial organ found the prosecution’s appeal to be an interlocutory on which an appeal shall not be lodged. An appeal cannot be lodged on a court’s ruling regarding whether a certain witness should be allowed to testify or not, the court held.

The prosecution lodged an appeal after Federal High Court in July ordered the Addis Ababa Prison Administration to present Andargachew to testify on a case pending before it. The high court’s ruling followed a petition by defendants in a terrorism trial who listed Andargachew, whom they allegedly met in Eritrea, as their defense witness.

However, the Ethiopian born British national who is facing a death penalty over terrorism convictions was a no show on several hearings since July 20. The prison administration cited various reasons until it finally disclosed in late October that Andargachew is not under their custody.

A prosecution appeal on the high court’s ruling meant that the lower court’s ruling was suspended until the Supreme Court settles the matter. However, following Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling, prosecutors have taken the issue to the cassation bench, the last legal resort, The Reporter understands.
The whereabouts and manner of Andargachew’s detention remains a subject of controversy which also resulted in diplomatic tensions with UK.

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