By Abebe Gellaw
Under the brutal rule of the TPLF, courts are key instruments of repression. This is not an allegation. It is rather a well-documented and substantiated fact widely known across the world. One of the worst crimes the TPLF has committed in the last two decades is using fake laws, Kangaroo courts, unjustly ruthless “prosecutors” and “judges” to silence and torment anyone opposed to its criminal tyranny.
“Prosecutors” and “lawyers” in the league of Shimelis Kemal have committed heinous crimes under the guise of nonexistent due process. Among other things, Shimelis is the author of the so-called anti-terrorism proclamation and the charities and societies law. Tewodros Beharu, who was recruited as a student OPDO operative at college, is one of those who were willingly followed the bloody footsteps of TPLF’s hacks like Shimelis.
Journalists, activists and political dissidents that have survived torture chambers, killing sprees and all sorts of inhumane treatment are mostly forced to go through the Kangaroo court system even if the whole process is a sham designed to give repression a semblance of justice. The system deliberately dispenses injustice by imposing the will of the TPLF under the guise of justice.
The fake and unjust “lawyers” like Tewodros Beharu, Berhanu Wondimagegn, Zeresenay Misganaw and Berihun Teklebirhan were given tasks to persecute journalists and activists using the anti-terrorism law. In the service of their TPLF paymasters, the hack lawyers have fabricated countless treason and terrorism charges against innocent people whose only crime was exposing and challenging the corruption and tyranny of the TPLF.
Fake prosecutor Tewodros Beharu is no exception. He willingly and passionately played a key role in sending Eskinder Nega, Andualem Aragie, Reeyot Alemu, Nathnael Mekonnen, Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelisa, the Muslim leaders and so many political prisoners to the hellish TPLF jails. This unjust man is now living in Silver Spring, Maryland. While his victims are suffering in harsh jails, he appears to go to bed without any remorse and regrets.
After shattering the dreams of so many patriots condemned to suffer nightmares just for the love of their people and country, he is pursuing “happiness” and the American dream. It appears that the former TPLF tormentor and persecutor has sought asylum under false pretence that he was persecuted and tortured. To make matters worse, he rejected numerous requests to explain about the way he and his partners in crime were able to convict innocent people with serious terrorism offences and crimes they have never committed. He even tried to blame it all on Shimelis Kemal despite the key roles he played in the whole drama.
Whatever the justification, Tewdoros knows the fact that political prisoners deemed to be threats to the TPLF are always guilty, even before they are pronounced guilty as charged by opportunistic Kangaroo court judges and prosecutors like himself hired to do the dirty job. He is also aware of the fact that the “terrorists” he convicted faced concocted and fictitious charges without the need to present any shred of evidence. They have been denied a fair trial and the basic right to challenge false accusations to prove their innocence.
The worst and most outrageous legal drama unfolded in the aftermath of the 2005 elections. The landslide election victory the opposition had pulled off triggered Meles Zenawi’s panic attacks. Over 193 civilians including minors were mowed down by the brutal Agazi brigade and the federal police. Then opposition party leaders, journalists and civil society leaders were detained and charged with genocide, outrage against the constitution and treason, charges authored by Shimelis Kemal and his handlers.
Former publisher and journalist Serkalem Fasil and her son Nafkot Eskinder, who was born in jail in the wake of the 2005 election turmoils, were forced to flee Ethiopia almost a year ago. Her husband , the fiery award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega, was convicted of trumped-up “terrorism” offenses. He was condemned to 18 years in jail. The chief prosecutor in this and other high profile anti-terrorism charges to inflict maximum harm and pain was none other than Tewodros Beharu.
Following Eskinder’s terrorism conviction, their two houses and a car were confiscated. Adding insult to injury, TPLF was very eager to make sure that not only Eskinder but his family suffer the injustice. After losing everything they have, it was a hard and heartbreaking decision for Serkalem to leave her husband behind. But upon his insistence, she had no choice but to go into exile, at least to protect their child from the unjustly tormenting and painful experience.
A couple of weeks later, Tewodros Beharu, along with his wife Meron Girma, left Ethiopia dreaming a better life in the United States. Unlike the majority of Ethiopian exiles that flee persecution, torture, killings and discrimination, the former public prosecutor left behind the shattered dreams of so many political prisoners and their families.
Tewodros was one of TPLF’s prosecutors, or rather persecutors, trained and employed to fabricate terrorism charges against political prisoners like Eskinder Nega, Andualem Aragie, Nathaniel Mekonnen, Reeyot Alemu, Wubishet Taye, Bekeke Gerba, Olbana Lelisa, the Muslim community leaders and the two Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye. Tewdos also convicted exiled “terrorists” such as Obang Metho, Neamin Zeleke, Dr. Berhanu Nega, Ephrem Madebo, Fasil Yenealem, Mesfin Negash, Abiy Teklemariam and myself.
In a reversal of fortune, Tewodros Beharu has ended up among the terrorists he falsely accused and convicted. This beggars the question how the persecuted and the persecutors can coexisted in the land of freedom where the rule of law is supreme. When victims and tormentors face off, the “dreamer “in the pursuit of happiness may be too sad to face truth, justice and reality….
As Malcolm X once said, “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.” Not only Tewodros but all the false accusers and judges in Ethiopia should realize the fact that those of us they convicted with all sorts of crimes and terrorism are not criminals and terrorists but law-abiding citizens that dare to speak truth to power.
Tormenting and attacking innocent people with false accusations and fake laws is nothing but terrorism. Those who falsely accuse and prosecute others are conscious criminals. They cannot invoke ignorance or arrogance as a defense.
Let the truth speak for itself. The truth never lies. It is always powerful and irrefutable.
By Abebe Gellaw