The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) revoked the immunity from prosecution of 39 representatives of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on Thursday November 12, 2020.
The decision came after the Federal Attorney General (AG) tabled a motion requesting to revoke the immunity from prosecution of the TPLF members. The individuals are suspected of waging armed rebellion, attacking the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, and other related crimes.
According to the draft resolution presented before the House, TPLF MPs and other members of the party are accused of leading and taking part in the ongoing war against the government.
Included in the list of names whose immunity from prosecution has been revoked are senior members of the TPLF such as: Abay Tsehaye, Asmelash Weldesenbet, Debretsion Gebremichael(PhD) [Head of Tigray Regional State], Addisalem Balema(PhD), Getachew Reda, Atsebeha Aregawi and Gebregziabher Araya.
The only TPLF members with designated seats in the HRP whose immunity from prosecution has not been revoked are Tedros Adhanom (PhD) and Roman Gebresilassie. Despite serving as the Director General of the World Health Organization since mid-2017, Tedros’ seat in the HPR has not been replaced by another MP. Roman recently left her post as the Head of Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the GERD.
With the current crisis growing at an alarming rate, the AG proposed the arrest of several more members of the TPLF, retired army officers and Army commanders who recently defected the ENDF to join the TPLF forces. However, the legislature did not consent to the arrest of these individuals since they are not elected officials.
On the day the House revoked immunities, the Federal Police Commission publicly unveiled the arrest warrant of a total of 64 people for charges of treason.
Some of the most prominent figures that featured in the list include: Sibhat Nega (veteran fighter and founder of TPLF), Getachew Assefa (former Intel Chief), Seyoum Mesfin, founder of TPLF who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Getachew Reda, Fetlework Gebre-egziabher, Abrham Tekeste (PhD)/Former Minister of Finance, and Keria Ibrahim, who was the Speaker of the House of Federation before she resigned from office in August of this year.
A day earlier, it was reported that Police had already arrested Addisalem Balema, making him the first TPLF top official to have been detained in the latest wave of mass arrests.
In addition to the high profile individuals mentioned above, Police said that it apprehended a network of operatives involving over 150 individuals, whom the commission described as “Criminal Elements” within the TPLF, who worked to strike fear and terror in Addis and other parts of the country.
According to the Police Commission, the suspects hail from various walks of life and happen to be ethnically diverse.
In a separate list of suspects, the Federal police Commission also identified the names of 32 top military commanders and officers suspected of conspiring and helping Tigray Special Forces, who are believed to have taken part in the killing of troops of the North Command near Mekelle, Humerra and Dansha towns.