Nazrawit Abera, the Ethiopian engineer who is facing drug trafficking charges, is set to make her first court appearance on Thursday.
This comes as public pressure for her release is growing and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) is promising to advocate on her behalf, including raising her issue to the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Second Belt and Road Summit in Beijing, earlier this year. Her online petition for clemency has also garnered thousands of signatories and stars such as Teddy Afro have spoken on her behalf.
“As for the updates, Naz is going to appear before a Chinese court on Thursday,” a family friend told The Reporter. We want to request people pray for her.”
Her biological mother is said to have been partially paralyzed as a result and family or close friends have not been able to speak to her. However, Ethiopia’s ambassador to China, Teshome Toga confirmed to The Reporter that she was visited by diplomats several times and is receiving consular support.
In the meantime, the Chinese embassy in Addis Ababa has begun to issue documents and warnings of each visa recipients of the seriousness of a drug offence in the country and deter them from deciding to carry someone else’s belongings.
The charges, if convicted, would likely lead to execution under China’s Article 347 of the Chinese Criminal Law.
The family of Nazrawit is adamant the drugs found in her belongings were not of hers, but she was carrying them on behalf of a childhood friend.