Addis Ababa: An Ethiopian court today sentenced five opposition leaders to death and 33 other people to life imprisonment for plotting to assassinate government officials, reports claimed.
The Ethiopian government claimed in April it had
uncovered a plot to kill government officials and sabotage
infrastructure by a group called "Ginbot 7" allegedly led by
the main opposition challenger in the disputed 2005 elections.
"The following five have committed grave offences and
four of them have not learnt from their previous sentences,"
Judge Adam Ibrahim of the federal High Court said.
"Therefore we have been obliged to give the most
severe sentences," he said.
Many of the accused were sentenced in absentia,
including the alleged mastermind of the plot, US-exiled
Berhanu Nega who served two years in prison after accusing
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi`s regime of stealing the 2005 polls.
Twenty-eight of those sentenced were present in the
Addis Ababa courtroom, including Melaku Tefera, a senior
opposition member who was among those sentenced to death.
The death sentences were handed down to the alleged
political leaders of the plot while most of the 33 slapped
with life in prison are active or retired army officers.