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Treason trial of Ethiopia election protesters adjourned

[JURIST] An Ethiopian court has rejected an application by three of 129 Ethiopian election protesters to have a separate trial and adjourned the trial of all 129 people until March 22. The charges, which include conspiracy, treason and genocide for some defendants, relate to mass demonstrations [JURIST report] in the wake of Ethiopia's May 2005 elections where government officials made arrests after street protests in July and November [JURIST report]. The opposition Coalition of Unity and Democracy [party website] claims that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi rigged the vote and intimidated witnesses. Judge Adil Ahmed ruled that the court would try the three defendants, two employees of the British nongovernmental organization ActionAid [advocacy website] and a teacher, with the other 126 defendants because a separate trial would delay the proceedings and be too burdensome on witnesses.

The trial began last Friday [JURIST report] after Ahmed ordered the case to proceed in January despite the defendants' challenge to the court's jurisdiction [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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