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Ethiopian court convicts U.N. security officer of ‘terrorism’

Ogaden National Liberation Front ONLF rebelsOgaden National Liberation Front ONLF rebelsA court in Addis Ababa Monday found an Ethiopian security officer working for the U.N. and charged with having links to a banned armed group guilty of “participating in a terrorist organization.”
 
“The defendant has not convinced us that he did not commit a crime... he’s guilty,” judge Mulugeta Kidane said. 
 
Abdurahman Sheikh Hassan, who was based in Ethiopia’s troubled southeastern Ogaden region, was charged last July with having links to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a secessionist rebel group.
 
He is charged along with Sherif Baido, whom the charge sheet lists as a senior member of the ONLF and was convicted on the same charge in absentia, according to Mulugeta. 
 
The two men face five to ten years in prison. The court is expected to deliver a sentence on Friday.
 
Hassan was arrested after negotiating the release of two UN World Food Program (WFP) officers kidnapped in the Ogaden.
 
Judge Mulugeta said defense witnesses failed to prove Hassan did not have links to ONLF members.
 
The key evidence used by the prosecution was recordings of phone conversations between Hassan and his co-defendant. 
 
The judge said the voices of Hassan and Baido had been matched to those on the tape after it was analyzed by the cybercrimes unit. 
 
“It has been proved by the cybercrimes section that it was their voices,” he said.

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