Ethiopian anti-poverty campaigners remain in jail | ActionAid UK

Ethiopian anti-poverty campaigners remain in jail

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Verdict on ActionAid worker and colleague is postponed again

The verdict in the case of Ethiopian anti-poverty campaigners Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie, which was expected today, has been postponed again because a judge is in hospital.

The last evidence in the case was presented in Ethiopia's Federal High Court on 2 August. The two prisoners have been waiting since then to hear their verdict, first while the court completed its annual recess, and then for a further six weeks after the judges said that they needed extra time to consider all the evidence.

Today the court postponed the verdict again, to Friday 30 November, because one of the three judges is in hospital.

The two anti-poverty campaigners are the only remaining defendants in a case which was brought against 127 individuals and four organisations in January 2006.

Daniel Bekele is policy manager of ActionAid Ethiopia. Netsanet Demissie is director of the Organisation for Social Justice in Ethiopia, a partner organisation of ActionAid. They have been recognised by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders.

ActionAid's chief executive Ramesh Singh, who had travelled to Ethiopia to hear the verdict, said: "This is very unfortunate but it is the kind of thing that can happen. Once again, we have to wait to hear the outcome of the case. It is frustrating and disappointing but we will continue to stand by Daniel and Netsanet. We admire the courage and determination of our two colleagues, who have lived for two years in prison while struggling in the courtroom to establish their innocence."

ActionAid works in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas to fight global poverty and injustice.