April 10, 2007
"I feel delighted - I feel happy"
Yesterday I had a very short but cheery interview with Kasahun Kebede, just after he was released after a year and a half in Kaliti prison. A few lines were used in Reuters' main story on the latest developments on the court proceedings against opposition figures. Here is all of it:
The first prisoner to walk free through the gates of Addis Ababa's Kaliti Prison today was Kasahun Kebede, head of the Addis Ababa Teacher's Association.
"I feel delighted. I feel happy. I have been in prison for a year and a half," he said as he sat in his car with his wife and lawyer.
"That's all I want to say at the moment. Tonight we are going to have a big celebration - it's our culture."
Mr Kasahun was acquitted on Thursday last week, but has to stay a few days extra in prison as his paperwork was processed over the Easter holiday. He said the 25 people acquitted on Monday were due to be released later in the evening or early on Tuesday.
Mr Kasahun's lawyer Wondawuk Ayele said he was originally charged with conspiracy against the constitution and could have faced life imprisonment or the death penalty if found guilty.
"There were three reasons why he was released. First, no witnesses appeared against him. Second the documents that the prosecutor produced were irrelevant. And third, the charge was made out against the Executive Head of the Ethiopian Teacher's Association. But my client is the head of the Addis Ababa Teacher's Association - a different body."
Posted by aheavens at April 10, 2007 7:34 AM