Ethiopian election protesters claim lawyers denied them

[JURIST] Some 80 opposition politicians, reporters and aid workers facing treason and genocide charges in Ethiopia relating to November's street clashes over May elections that killed 46 people have complained that they have been denied access to lawyers by prison administration. They made the claim Wednesday as they appeared in court for a bail hearing. Riots erupted during a protest against ballot fraud orchestrated by the Coalition of Unity and Democracy (CUD) [official website], Ethiopia’s largest opposition party. The government released 2,417 prisoners [JURIST report] held without charge in connection to the confrontation shortly after the rioting occurred. Under Ethiopian law, the sentences for the various charges the defendants face range from three years to the death penalty. In total, 130 people are facing charges for the unrest that followed the May elections. CUD still has not taken up the parliamentary seats it won in the vote. The judge presiding in Wednesday's proceeding has said he will rule on bail on January 4. BBC News has more.

 

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