29 April 2021, Addis Abeba – The Federal First Instance Court has overturned letters from the Federal and Oromia police prohibiting Lidetu Ayalew, the founder and leader of the opposition Ethiopian Democratic Party, from going abroad for medical reasons.
On April 15, Lidetu was returned from Bole international airport, where he was told that court orders barred him from traveling to the United States for the third time. According to his counsel, Gemechu Gudeta, Lidetu filed an appeal with the federal first instance judge, requesting a court hearing on his travel ban.
He appeared in court on April 22, 2021, where federal police argued that his travel ban could not be revoked because Lidetu is being investigated. The court rescheduled the hearing for April 29, 2021, requesting more information from the police about Lidetu’s travel ban.
The federal police said in its explanation that the Oromia police commission raised concerns that if Lidetu is permitted to travel abroad, he will not return to attend future court hearings. In addition, the federal police demanded that Lidetu be barred from traveling abroad in a letter dated February 11, 2021, claiming that he was spreading false information about the ‘law enforcement operation.’
On March 15, the Oromia Supreme Court’s East Shewa Permanent Bench acquitted Lidetu of all charges, including suspected youth mobilization in Bishoftu to forcibly overthrow the constitutional order. Despite presenting paperwork related to his acquittal by the court, Lidetu was denied permission to leave the country.
According to Lidetu’s counsel, the Federal First Instance Court, Arada Branch, ruled in his favor today and lifted the travel ban.