Former security head Getachew Assefa charged in court


Melat Mulugeta

After PM Abiy came to power on April 2, 2018, he began an administration cleanse to mend the corruption and human rights violation crackdown in the Ethiopian government. The reform began from one of the earliest dictatorial and untouchable organization, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The attorney general launched an investigation to NISS which revealed heartbreaking and enraging truths that shook the nation. After concluding the investigation, the police arrested 25 senior officials of NISS but failed to catch the main culprit. Despite every effort, Getachew Assefa, former Director of NISS, went to hiding before answering to his crimes.

Following the news that Getachew was hiding in Tigray region, General attorney issued a warrant for his arrest on August 2018, but Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has refused to hand him over and challenged the actions of the prime minister as ethnic cleansing and targeting of Tigrayans. After investigations revealed Getachew Assefa’s revolting actions, US Congressman Mike Coffman requested Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury, Steven T. Mnuchin to sanction Getachew Assefa with the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act is a bill applicable globally, authorizing the United States government to sanction those who it sees as human rights offenders, freezing their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.

After months of controversies and debates, General Attorney has officially charged Getachew Assefa along with three other former officials, Atsebha Gidey, Assefa Belay, and Shishay Leul in absentia at the Lideta Federal High Court.