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Ethiopia prosecutors seek death penalty for opposition members

[JURIST] Ethiopian prosecutors Monday sought the death penalty against 38 opposition members convicted in June of treason and inciting violence for their roles in mass anti-government demonstrations [JURIST reports], saying that the defendants have not demonstrated remorse and therefore should be subjected to the harshest punishment. The opposition members, most of whom belonged to the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) [party website], have not offered any defense to the charges and are expected to be sentenced on July 16.

The defendants, who were previously barred from meeting with their defense lawyers [JURIST report], were convicted for inciting the anti-government protests following Ethiopia's contested 2005 elections [JURIST news archive], which were marred by allegations of fraud [JURIST report]. Last October, an Ethiopian inquiry team charged with investigating the demonstration announced that approximately 193 civilians were killed by Ethiopian security forces [JURIST report] during the violence, an estimate nearly three times the official number initially reported by the government. AP has more.

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