After a secretly held trial, last week, Corporal Mesafint Tigabu was convicted of assassinating the chief of staff of Ethiopia’s armed forces, General Se’are Mekonnen, and another general, Gezai Abera, two years ago on June 24, 2019.
The accusations leveled against Mesfaint by the Attorney General’s Office have not been convincing to those who have closely followed the case. But most importantly, the suspect has not been afforded even a hint of due process. Mesafint’s family have been denied visitation. And General Seare’s wife, who witnessed her husband die, has not been allowed to testify. If the Attorney General has a strong case, why conduct a secret trial? Why deny Mesafint due process? Why prevent his family and friends from visiting him?
After securing a conviction last week, yesterday, the Attorney General’s Office has requested the death penalty against Mesafint Tigabu.
There is a great deal of mystery surrounding the assassination of General Se’are. An independent commission should have been appointed to investigate the crime. Instead, the government is in a hurry to bury the matter along with Mesafint.